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Granola came into vogue during the health-food movement of the '60s, quietly retreated, and in the past few years has become popular again.
Today you will find upscale bakeries and restaurants that sell personalized versions of granola, each with their own mix of nuts, fruits and grains. They are often pricey and, frankly, not as good as making your own, often filled with excess oil and sugar. The following recipe is filled with a toasted oat and nut flavor and is not too sweet. I like to add shredded coconut for a touch of tropical flavor. If you like you can add macadamia nuts too!
After graduating from UC Berkeley, the capital of political demonstrations and granola, I went off to study at Le Cordon Bleu in London. Cooking up all of those rich dishes sometimes seemed too much. I yearned for lighter food that reminded me of the U.S., and I decided that I could create the best granola that any Brit had ever tasted.
I sought out health food stores with raw nuts and dried fruits and experimented with a number of variations. A culinary "breakthrough" occurred in my tiny flat when I combined some tasty honey with crispy nut and fruit granola in my even tinier oven and produced the basic recipe that I am now sharing with you.
Try this dish with yogurt and maple syrup. If you have any fresh berries on hand, toss them on top. I also like to layer this with my favorite fruit yogurt and berries in parfait glasses. And don't forget to try it in hot oatmeal for a comforting, textural surprise.
This homemade granola has a wonderful toasted flavor with just a hint of honey or maple syrup: a perfect start to the new year, when we all want to eat healthy. Feel free to add any combination of dried fruits and nuts, and try to make extra batches to toss into cookies and sprinkle over ice cream. This also makes a great gift.
Makes 8 cups
5 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cups unsalted sunflower seeds
1/2 cup wheat or oat bran
1/2 cup flax seed
1 cup coarsely chopped raw pecans
1/2 cup sliced raw almonds
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 cup honey or Grade B maple syrup
2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes
2/3 cup unsweetened dried cranberries, cherries or apricots, or a mix of all
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. In a large bowl, combine the oats, sunflower seeds, bran, flax seed, pecans and almonds. Drizzle with oil, and toss well to coat evenly. You can use your hands to do this.
2. In a small saucepan over low heat, warm honey until it liquefies, 3 to 5 minutes. Drizzle the honey over oat mixture, and toss again to coat evenly. If you are using maple syrup, add it to the granola without heating.
3. Spread mixture evenly among two (11-by-17-inch) baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove pans from oven, stir granola well and spread out again. Reduce oven temperature to 325 F, return granola to the oven, and bake 15 to 20 more minutes, stirring twice, until evenly browned. Add the coconut 5 minutes before the end of baking. Make sure it does not burn. Don't crowd the granola; it should be in one layer.
4. Remove pans from the oven, and let granola cool completely. Mix in the unsweetened dried fruit. Store in an airtight container.
Advance preparation: Store granola into an airtight container for up to two weeks.
This article is written by Diane Rossen Worthington from Seriously Simple and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.