September 14, 2010
I have the best time making homemade granola! I know that sounds like an odd thing to get a kick-out of, but I do. Maybe it’s because I like coming up with new and interesting dried fruit and nut combinations…or maybe it’s just because it tastes so much better than the commercially produced variety.
Homemade granola is really easy to make and has a lot less sugar. The entire family enjoys granola. Reed thinks the dried fruit is candy. Amanda likes me to pack some in her backpack for a mid-morning snack. Matt eats his by the handful right out of the jar that we keep on our counter. But I love mine over a heap of fresh fruit with a dollop of plain yogurt.
The granola shown in these photos was made with dried apricots, blueberries, walnuts and almonds. I especially love the color contrast between the dark blueberries and the bright orange apricots.
Here’s the general recipe…but I switch things up depending on what I have on hand.
Makes about 10 cups ~ pre-heat oven to 300◦FNon-stick vegetable oil spray 5 ½ cups of old fashioned oats 2 cups of nuts (I typically use pecan pieces and slivered almonds) ¾ cup unsweetened coconut ½ cup lightly packed brown sugar ½ toasted wheat germ 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon ½ teaspoon of ground nutmeg 1 cup of whatever juice you have on hand – I’ve used apple, prune, orange juice or a combination 6 tablespoons of vegetable oil ¼ cup maple syrup 2 teaspoons of vanilla 2 cups of dried fruit
Spray two rimmed baking sheets with non-stick spray. Mix oats, nuts, coconut, brown sugar, wheat germ, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl. Combine juice, oil and syrup in a small sauce pan and heat until just boiling. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Drizzle the juice mixture over the oat mixture and toss to coat. Divide the granola between the two baking sheets and spread evenly. Bake the granola until golden brown – this takes about 50 minutes. Stir occasionally and don’t be afraid to let the granola get dark golden. Too many packaged granolas aren’t crispy enough, in my opinion. Divide the dried fruit between the two sheets and toss with granola. Bake another 10 minutes. Cool completely. I like to divide the batch into 4 zip-lock bags and freeze. I take a bag out when our jar gets empty!