After carting home my 700th little container of Stephano’s (exemplary) hemp granola for $6 a pop, I was done feeling like a chump: It was time to start making my own from scratch after blabbing about it all these months.

It wasn’t just the price – knowing full well what a bag of oats costs. Or the little plastic box, destined straight for the recycling bin (and China after that). It was also my pride; surely to god I should be able to execute a pantry staple with all of five basic ingredients.

I got my hands on a big bag of oats and narrowed down the recipes. In the end, I chose one from juicy ol’ Nigella Lawson, because her ingredient list was very low on the oil, unlike many of the others.

I also loved that it contained applesauce, giving me an excuse to cut out most of the rest of the sugar.

These are the liberties I took: Instead of one-quarter cup of honey, I used maple syrup, which I thought would spread more easily. And I threw in a few handfuls of (sweetened) coconut, because how could I not. But aside from that, I used unsweetened applesauce and completely omitted the one-third cup of rice syrup (whatever that is) and the three-quarters cup of sugar she called for, and still found it plenty sweet.

Funny thing: It was five times more delicious when it was raw:

I could taste the natural sweetness of the apple, the bite of kosher salt, the full roundness of the cinnamon. But once it came out of the oven at the halfway point, the granola was already too brown for my liking and so much of the flavour had been singed away. I would bake this for half the time Nigella recommends (20 minutes, to her 40. Here it is halfway through baking, plenty brown enough).

Granted, I didn’t use two cookie sheets, because I don’t have two cookie sheets (ludicrous!). I used one sheet and put half the mixture on it, then baked the second half when the first was done. Perhaps having two sheets in the oven, which you rotate, buffers the granola from the full force of the heat? Non lo so. I put that out to the seasoned bakers to riddle for me.

A final note: In my research, I discovered that the buzzword among the homemade-granola nerds is “clumping” – that is, getting your granola to emerge from the oven in chunks so that it can be easily eaten in a pick-it-up-and-snack-on-it way.

I too love the clumps, and since I didn’t have wheat germ on hand (which is what many granola nerds employ to get clumping), I used the press-the-mixture-down-in-the-pan-with-the-back-of-a-big-spoon-or-fish-spatula-before-baking method. Appraisal of method: unsatisfactory. Quest for clumping: Burning in my bosom. Next time I’ll add the wheat germ.

All in all, I’m enjoying my granola well enough. It’s full of almonds, which staves off my craving for a second breakfast. But it isn’t knocking my socks off. And I have three giant jars of it (you can see here the difference in colour between the batch that I cooked longer than the other):

Once I’ve made my way through all of it, I’ll try a new recipe in my quest for granola that’s as good as Stephano’s – which I suspect is as much about method as ingredients. In the meanwhile, if you want to take a jar of substandard granola off my hands to expedite the continuation of the granola sessions, show yourself.