My grandfather, my dad’s dad, was an utterly charming and good-looking man, with a head of silver-white hair and matching full beard that gave him a Papa Hemingway kind of look. A die-hard sailor who in the 1970s crossed the Atlantic from Florida to the Mediterranean, he’s responsible, via my father, for my love of boats and water. Granddad was a big guy, and he carried his bigness right in his midsection. His love for cashews and cookies and good scotch was legendary. But his hefty appetite didn’t prevent him from being remarkably active; he famously shattered an ankle while skateboarding at age 57 and was still windsurfing in his 70s.
I don’t recall my late grandparents as particularly health-oriented; they both had their share of preventable health challenges later in life. Grandmother was a meatandpotatoesandpie kind of cook. But on my annual visits to their home in Florida throughout my high-school and college years, I noticed that Granddad always got his day off to a healthy start with a bowl of homemade granola cereal. (He also embraced the Chemex coffee maker waaaaay before today’s caffeinistas declared it de rigueur.)
While perusing my forever-old recipe box recently, I was delighted to come across an index card with Granddad’s granola recipe. It’s written in my meticulous, Helvetica penmanship (honed by countless blue-book essays in high school English class). This recipe is loaded with flavor, thanks to toasted whole almonds and sesame seed, which I distinctly remember. I’ve posted other great recipes for homemade granola here and here, but this one might be my favorite, strictly for sentimental reasons.
granddad’s granola recipe
(makes a ton)
4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup sesame seed (preferably unhulled)
1 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup bran (see Note)
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup very coarsely chopped toasted almonds (see Note)
1/2 cup honey or agave nectar
1 cup organic raisins
1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread a sheet of parchment paper or foil on a large rimmed baking sheet. In a large bowl, stir together oats, sesame seed, sunflower seed, wheat germ, bran and oil. Spread on the baking sheet and transfer to the preheated oven. Bake for 15 minutes, stir, then bake for 15 minutes more. Remove pan from oven and transfer the granola back to your mixing bowl. [Careful; you don't want to wind up, as I did, with sesame seeds and oats all over the stove.] Drizzle honey or agave over the granola, sprinkle with cinnamon and add nuts and raisins. Toss gently to combine thoroughly. Return the mixture to the baking sheet and bake 15 minutes more, stirring occasionally, until granola is toasty brown. Remove pan from oven and let granola cool; it will crisp up as it cools. Store in a plastic container.
Note: No reason why you couldn’t use 1 cup of wheat germ in place of half germ and half bran. For the nuts, choose quality whole almonds that have been roasted but not salted. Use a chef’s knife to chop them into large pieces.