Recipe: Bacon Granola
You read that right: bacon granola. Last year, I was surprised by how easy it is to make granola rather than buy it. What’s more, there are countless ways to modify your homemade granola, from adding a cup of coconut or seeds or nuts or dried fruit or even chocolate as it’s cooling. So, of course, I wondered about the food of the millennium: bacon. Sure, you can always fry up some bacon and crumble it into your own purchased granola, but here’s a way to get a bit more of that bacon flavor into more of the granola while also getting some of the sweet of the honey onto the bacon. It’s a marriage of the salty and sweet, smoky and oatsy. And, I’d skip adding any of the other tasty bits like nuts or fruit unless you also increase some of the honey and oil, which is difficult to do while also balancing the bacon flavor.
So, with very few ingredients, you’ll have a delicious batch of bacon granola. Be sure to use thick bacon, as the thinly sliced bacon just cooks (and tend to burn) too quickly for the rest of the oats mixture to keep up and brown to a crisp. Also, take the pro tip from me, throwing two slices of bacon into the freezer makes for much easier cutting than when it’s at a temperature that’s closer to room temp…a solid fat and meat makes for a cleaner cut than the rubbery fat and meat. Then, be sure to let the sliced pieces of bacon thaw before adding to the granola mixture and putting in the oven.
The resulting granola is crispy with a nice bacon flavor with actual bits of bacon throughout. It’s not a granola that clumps together well, be sure to scroll down for the egg white version if you’d prefer your granola to stick together in clumps.
3 cups oatmeal (not instant)
1/3 cup oil (vegetable or canola)
3/4 cup honey
2 tsp cinnamon
2 slices thick bacon (frozen for slicing, be sure to thaw before baking)
1 tsp coarse salt
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Put a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet with edges. Mix together the ingredients. Perhaps you want to slice the frozen bacon first, mix together the rest, and add the thawed pieces at the end, but be sure to also make salt the last (or second-to-last) addition so that it doesn’t start dissolving. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, stir it around so that the fat that starts baking out of the bacon is spread around for the rest of the granola to crisp up in, and return the pan to the oven for another 20 minutes. Remove it from the oven, allow to cool, break apart the granola, and store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. I’ve done everything from storing it in a resealable bag to using a pretty jar, but it never lasts long enough for the design of the storage receptacle to matter.
Egg White Version:
This recipe will result in a nice granola that isn’t too greasy, but also doesn’t clump together all that well. If you’d like to end up with a bacon granola that clumps together a bit more, it’ll also take a bit more time and effort. In addition to the ingredients and directions above, whisk one egg white and add it to the mix. After baking it for 35 minutes at 325 with stirring once in the middle of the baking time, lower the heat to 275 and “dry” it for about 20 minutes longer. It should be a clumped-together granola; skipping the drying step results in granola bites that seem a bit chewy and cakey due to the added egg white. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
Non-Bacon Granola Version:
And if you’d prefer a baconless granola, it’s a very versatile recipe. Preheat to 300, mix together the same ingredients above but use ½ cup of oil, add nuts or seeds or fruit, and bake for 35 minutes with a stir after the first 20 minutes. Store in an air-tight container at room temperature.