Monday, May 4, 2009

Sarah's Granola

One benefit of making your own cereal is being able to control the amount of fats, sodium, and sugars that are part of your most important meal of the day, not to mention all of the other things in there.  Have you read the ingredient list on the box of your favorite cereal, lately?  My daughter Sarah has been asking for my granola recipe for quite some time.  After some trial and error, I am finally ready to put this recipe into print.

I think it's important to look at cooking as more of an "art" than a "science", so this leaves much room for your own personal preference/creativity/pantry inventory.

4 cups rolled oats (optional combination of rolled, jumbo, and/or quick oats for a variety of texture)
3 cups nuts & seeds (I always use some walnuts - the only nut source of Omega-3's, but also use sunflower seeds, almonds, pecans, sesame seeds, pepitas or any other nuts/seeds I happen to have on hand - just be sure to coarsely chop nuts)
1/2 cup sunflower, safflower or canola oil
1/4 cup molasses 
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cup dried fruit (any combination of dried fruits you like:  dried apples & cranberries; cranberries & raisins; diced dried apricots & golden raisins; or all of them)

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
Mix the oats, seeds and nuts together in a bowl.
Heat the oil, molasses and honey in a saucepan on top of stove with the vanilla, cinnamon and salt until melted.
Remove from heat and pour over oat mixture.
Stir well, making sure the oat mixture is completely coated with syrup mixture.
Spread out in shallow layer in one or two baking pans.
Bake for about 1 hour, until crisp and lightly browned, stirring every 10 to 15 minutes to prevent mixture from sticking to bottom of pan, and to encourage even browning.
Remove from oven and stir in dried fruit.  
Allow to cool completely, then store in an airtight container.

This granola tastes great as a topping for some plain yogurt (or plain yogurt sweetened with a tiny bit of real maple syrup).  When I am trying to avoid dairy, this has also been good on some sliced bananas and strawberries; or topped with almond milk.


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