Honey-Vanilla Granola ... & Robbing Our Bees!

May 14, 2012
Homemade Honey-Vanilla Granola is a healthy and delicious snack that highlights the beautiful flavor of honey. Loaded with sunflower seeds, walnuts, golden raisins, vanilla extract, and pure honey, it's also loaded with fabulous flavor. (And we share our bee-robbing photos to boot!)

Small Bowl of Honey-Vanilla Granola Image

We completed our first bee robbing of the season this past weekend!  And I immediately came home and whipped up a big batch of Honey-Vanilla Granola. -- Because it's such a wonderful way to enjoy the beautiful flavor of honey.

I always enjoy taking pictures during our bee robbing, and wanted to share some with you, too. This bee-robbing time around, I took over 300 photos, and have picked out a few of my favorites to share.  If you'd like to see more photos and process information from previous robbings, check out one of these two links:

Who Stole the Honey?
2nd Bee Robbing of the Season!

Homemade Honey-Vanilla Granola is a healthy and delicious snack that highlights the beautiful flavor of honey.

My husband Mark, our head beekeeper, loves it when I take and share bee robbing photos, because it makes him feel like a bee stud.  So without further ado, here is the bee stud and his bees! 

(Notice that he's being super-studly and not wearing his beekeeper suit.  Our bees are so gentle, that one can get away with this.  Seriously though, people - I DO NOT recommend this.  If you work with bees, wear a beekeeper suit.)

First up is Mark getting the smoker ready.  Our smoker is super old, and I love it.  I've taken about a million photos of this old smoker.  I just think it has so much character.

Prepping Smoker to Smoke a Bee Hive Image
The smoker

Mark loves this photo of sending smoke into the hive.  It is pretty cool.

Pumping Smoke Into a Bee Hive Image
Smoke in action!

After he smokes the hive, he takes the top off the hive with a little chisel-type thing simply called a "hive tool" and, using a clamp-like tool, takes out a frame or two to see if the honey is ready to be robbed.

Using a Hive Tool to Loosen Frames from a Bee Hive Box Image
Frames in the box

Since we were working with our hive down near the pasture, the cows were quite interested in what we were doing ...

Two Cows in a Pasture Image
Hey.  What are ya doing?

Out come the frames, and they look like they're good and ready for robbing!  We can tell because they're full, and they have that white stuff (wax) sealing up all the cells.

Removing a Frame from a Bee Hive Image
The honey cells are all capped, so this hive is ready for robbing.

After Mark removes all the frames from the box and places them in a big plastic tub, we take them inside.  The first step once we're inside is to cut off the wax caps.  Usually, the wax doesn't come off in nice big sheets like Mark got it to in the photo below.  He got lucky with that cut.

Cutting Wax Caps from a Frame to Release Honey Image
Cutting off the wax caps

Depending on what's in bloom at different times, honey can be very different colors and have very different flavors.  It was pretty cool that in this single robbing, we found frames with distinctly different honey colors and flavors.  I took the photo below of the wax cuttings to show this.

Look on the left side of the photo --- See the very pale, almost clear-colored honey?  Now look to the right, even with the right-side board of the frame --- See the darker, amber-colored honey drippings?  Pretty big difference.  To me, all honey is delicious, but I do prefer the darker stuff if I have a choice.

Wax Caps and Honey Drippings in a Plastic Tub Image
Different colors of honey, as seen in the wax cuttings & drippings

Once the wax caps are cut, the frames go in the extractor.  Spinning them in the extractor slings out all the honey from the frames.

Placing a Frame in Extractor to Spin Out Honey Image

Then you pour off all that beautiful, golden honey into jars. The extractor canister has a spout in the bottom of it that you open to let the honey flow out.

Pouring Off Honey from Extractor Spout into a Jar Image
Pouring off

Once poured, we set the jars of honey aside to rest for a while.  While the jars are sitting there taking their little rest, any impurities -- like bits of wax -- will float to the top.  We then skim this stuff from the jar tops before sealing.

Two Jars of Honey with Impurities Floating on Top Image
Bits of wax & other impurities float to the top

When we clean up from the robbing, we "feed" any drippings on our utensils back to the bees, even placing the extractor canister outside for the bees to "clean."  The bees absolutely work hard to produce their honey, and we don't want any of it -- even small drops -- to go to waste, if we can help it.

I went out and put some drops of honey on the bees' front porch of the hive, as we call it.  It's amazing how fast they clean it up and bring it back in the hive.  I wanted to share this photo because you can actually see the bee's tongue protruding out into the honey.

Look at the bee at the bottom right ... can you see it's tongue?

Bees Feeding on Drops of Honey Image
Bees are cleaning up!

Hopefully we'll be robbing again in a few weeks.  Get busy, little bees so we can come play with you again!

So, if you've got your mouth watering for a honey treat, whip up a batch of Honey-Vanilla Granola. It's one of our family's favorite ways to enjoy honey. Loaded with sunflower seeds, walnuts, golden raisins, vanilla extract, and pure honey, it's also loaded with fabulous flavor.

What's to Love About This Recipe?

  • Easy to make - Making homemade Honey-Vanilla Granola isn't complicated. -- In fact, it's pretty easy! Stir together the ingredients, spread on a baking sheet, and bake. That's about all there is to it!
  • Fabulous flavor - Oats, sunflower seeds, walnuts, golden raisins, vanilla extract, and pure honey combine to deliver up fabulous flavor in every bite.
  • Perfect for snacking - Enjoy it just as it is for nibbling, or sprinkle it on yogurt of other foods for a perfectly delicious snack.

Top View of a Bowl of Homemade Honey-Vanilla Granola Image

Honey-Vanilla Granola Ingredients:

Honey-Vanilla Granola's ingredient list is pretty straightforward, as far as granola goes. To whip up a batch, you'll need:

  • Old-fashioned oats - Creates the bulk and base of the granola. Use old-fashioned oats, rather than quick oats, for the best texture and result.

  • Wheat germ - Wheat germ is made from the part of a wheat kernel responsible for helping the plant reproduce new wheat. This portion is separated in the milling process into a powder-like substance. It's a nutritious addition to granola, bringing in nutrients such as thiamin, folate, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc, as well as protein. Look for it in jars or small pouch packages typically in the cereal section of the grocery store, often near the oatmeal products. Occasionally, stores stock it near the flours.

  • Walnuts - Coarsely chopped walnuts add bulk, nice crunch, protein, and omega-3's to the granola. Other nut varieties may be substituted, if you'd like, though we like walnuts' mild flavor in this recipe. -- It lets the granola's honey and vanilla shine.

  • Unsalted sunflower seeds - Bring another element of crunch to the granola, as well as are a great source of protein and vitamin E.

  • Honey - Sweetens the granola and creates the granola's honey flavor base.

  • Canola oil - Helps the granola ingredients become crisp as they bake. Coconut oil or other mild-flavored oils can be substituted for canola oil. 

  • Vanilla extract - A generous dose of vanilla extract combines with the honey to bring the signature fabulous flavor to this Honey-Vanilla Granola. Use pure, real vanilla extract (rather than imitation) for the best flavor result.

  • Salt - As with most things, a small bit of salt enhances the granola's flavor.

  • Golden raisins - Adds a nice chewy and sweet element to the granola. Regular raisins can be substituted, but we much prefer the more subtle flavor of golden raisins with the granola's honey and vanilla notes.

Honey-Vanilla Granola Ingredients Image

How to Make Honey-Vanilla Granola:

It's actually pretty easy to whip up a batch of homemade Honey-Vanilla Granola.  To get started, toss together some old-fashioned oats, wheat germ, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and salt in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk together some honey, canola oil, and vanilla extract.

Pour the honey mixture over the oat mixture, and stir everything together until the oats are evenly coated.

Spread the coated granola mixture onto a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Then pop it in the oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring about every 10 minutes. Stirring the granola periodically while it bakes helps all the oats get even exposure to heat, which helps in creating crispness throughout.

Baking Pan of Honey-Vanilla Granola Image

Once removed from the oven, stir in some golden raisins. Then let the granola cool completely. Store it in an airtight container for up to about a month.


Check out these other super tasty granola recipes:

Close-up of a Bowl of Honey-Vanilla Granola Image
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Yield: about 11 cups
Honey-Vanilla Granola

Honey-Vanilla Granola

Homemade Honey-Vanilla Granola is a healthy and delicious snack that highlights the beautiful flavor of honey. Loaded with sunflower seeds, walnuts, golden raisins, vanilla extract, and pure honey, it's also loaded with fabulous flavor.
Prep time: 15 MinCook time: 35 MinTotal time: 50 Min


  • 7 c. old-fashioned oats
  • 1 c. wheat germ
  • 1 c. coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1 c. unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. honey
  • 3/4 c. canola oil
  • 1 T. vanilla extract
  • 1 c. golden raisins


  1. In a large bowl, stir together oats, wheat germ, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and salt.
  2. Place honey, oil, and vanilla in a small bowl; stir to combine.
  3. Pour honey mixture over oat mixture; mix together until oats are evenly coated with the honey mixture.
  4. Spread granola mixture onto a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Bake at 300℉ for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring about every 10 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and stir in golden raisins.
  6. Let cool completely. Store tightly covered.
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Homemade Honey-Vanilla Granola ~ A healthy & delicious snack that highlights the beautiful flavor of honey! Loaded with sunflower seeds, walnuts, golden raisins, vanilla extract, & pure honey, it's loaded with fabulous flavor, too.  www.thekitchenismyplayground.com

This post is linked with Weekend Potluck.


  1. Wow - that process is so interesting. I have only ever seen this on TV where people have full body - head to toe white suits on. Ha Ha. Mark looks like he was just in his normal clothes. I would love to be able to taste real honey and the different flavors each batch has. I have been eating store-bought honey on everything lately. This granola sounds delicious.

    1. Mark was indeed in just some regular clothes ... he has and should have worn his white head-to-toe suit, but he likes to brave it without the suit. You certainly can't do that with all bees! ... ours are just super gentle.

  2. What a cool post! Your husband definitely is a bee stud. You're both pretty cool in my eyes for having bees in the first place. Thanks for sharing all the pictures. I can see why you'd take so many because the whole process is fascinating. Hope you get another good robbing in a few weeks!

  3. I love honey; it is so neat that you guys can make your own! I bet it tastes just that much better. Also, I'm looking forward to trying this recipe. I'm always putting granola into my yogurt!

  4. I love your bee pictures. We just started keeping bees last year. I'm not sure if I gave you the link but we have a different type of box you might find interesting, (no smoking required)

  5. That is amazing! Newest follower. Hope you stop by and follow my blog.

    The Girl in the Wild West

  6. I'm so jealous you have bees! There is nothing better then honey fresh from the bees! Your granola looks delicious as well :-)

  7. Wow, this is definitely an impressive post. I would love to collect honey (and hopefully not get stung). Your recipe looks delicious as well! I am a big granola fan. :)

    I also wanted to let you know that I'm having a giveaway on my blog. I would love for you to stop by if you have time. Thanks!

  8. Looks yummy! Going to the store tomorrow to get everything to make this. You have one brave hubby, but I bet the reward is worth being stung :-) Thanks for sharing your recipe!


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