Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Granola Goodness

OK, I’m about to let you in on a closely guarded trade secret. Several years ago, a friend shared her homemade granola with me, and it was love at first sight. She in turn had learned it from a friend decades earlier, and when I asked, my friend shared that recipe with me.

Being who I am, I can’t resist messing around with a good recipe in search of the great. After a lot of tweaking, I think I’ve found the perfect combination. I now make it all the time. I give it as a gift to anyone who will have it, and I try to keep some on hand at home at all times. I am happy to eat this granola with Greek yogurt and berries every morning for the rest of my days. (And speaking of Greek yogurt, the yogurt from Sophia’s Greek Pantry is truly the best in these parts).

Bags of small batch granola cost upwards of $8-$10, but you can make the most delicious granola imaginable for a fraction of the price. And it is all too easy to get hooked on this stuff — and I mean this in a good way, since it's filled with whole grains, antioxidants and protein. It’s simple to make, and doesn’t use many ingredients. The key is spreading the granola out in the pans so it can toast evenly, and using low heat so it won’t burn. The granola keeps in the freezer, and this recipe can be easily doubled (although you have to make sure you have the oven space to spread it over four sheet pans or bake it in two rounds). You can substitute various nuts if you want, but really, this is a pretty killer combination. Trust me on this one.

Really Truly The Best Granola Ever 
adapted with gratitude from Judith Liben
makes about 6 cups

3 cups rolled oats
1 cup raw pepitas
1/2 cup raw cashews, roughly chopped
1/2 cup raw almonds, roughly chopped
1 cup dried cherries (preferably unsweetened)

1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup honey
1/2 t. vanilla
1/4 t. kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Spread parchment paper on two sheet pans.

Place oats, pepitas, and nuts in a large bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the oil, honey, vanilla and salt just until bubbles start to form. Remove from heat and pour over oat mixture. Mix to combine.

Spread mixture on the two pans in a single layer. Place in the oven. In the meantime, rinse out the bowl, dry it, and place the dried fruit in it.

After 12 minutes, remove pans, stir granola around, and rotate pans as you put them back in (unless you have a fabulously even cooking oven). Give the granola another 8-10 minutes, then start checking every few minutes. Total cooking time is about 25-30 minutes, depending on your oven.

When it is a medium golden color, remove from the oven. Pick up the parchment like a sling, and pour granola back into the bowl over the dried fruit. Stir to combine, then let cool on the counter, stirring occasionally.

Store in a zippered bag in the freezer or an airtight container on the counter. Will keep two weeks, or months frozen.

1 comment:

  1. even though i now know how to make it myself, i'm still getting a bag for xmas right? :)