I like to think I am a pretty food savvy girl. I really do. Ask me to make just about anything...and I can. I also manage to have my own ideas and make up my own recipes from time to time. So how is it that I have never managed to think of the idea of making my own granola...until now?
See...it's something that I have always loved - in every shape and form. In post after post, I've prattled on about my love of things that combine crunchy, salty, sweet, and sour. Ummm...hello? That's the very definition of granola! I had been spoiled by the stuff that Big Sky Bread Company makes...but surely I could at least come close to that level of yumminess.
I honestly didn't know where to start...so I hit the Internet looking for a recipe I felt I could build on and customize. I also wanted to try and eliminate some of the so-bad-but-thats-what-makes-it-taste-so-good parts of most of the recipes I had come across.
Katie Lee Joel (I still don't know what I think about her but her granola is darned yummy, so at least there is that) contributed a recipe to Domino that looked like a good springboard for making my own flavor combination. I omitted the coconut - I'm kind of meh about it - and mixed up my own recipe using dried papaya, dried cranberries, and cashews. This stuff was delicious - and I was able to bake it a crispier level of doneness than most commercially-available granola. You can seriously use any mixture of fruits and nuts with the base of this granola and come out a winner - my next batch is going to have dried blueberries and almonds in it, for sure.
Katie Lee Joel's Low-Fat Granola - makes 8 cups - recipe originally found here
* 3 cups rolled oats
* ½ cup unsalted hulled sunflower seeds
* ½ cup unsalted hulled pumpkin seeds
* ½ cup flaked coconut
* ¼ cup wheat germ
* 1 ½ cups chopped unsalted mixed nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, etc.)
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* ½ teaspoon kosher salt
* 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter or canal oil
* 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 1 cup chopped mixed dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, dates, apricots, figs, prunes, etc.)
- Preheat over to 350º. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, coconut, wheat germ, nuts, cinnamon, and salt. In a small saucepan melt butter in the maple syrup over low heat. Stir in the vanilla. Add to the oat mixture. Add 2 tablespoons water and stir until well combined. Spread the granola evenly on a large baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring at 10-minute intervals to ensure uniform baking, until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool in the pan. Stir in the dried fruits. Store in an air-tight container.