It's that time of year...eating healthy tops the list of soo many resolutions. I love to have creamy yogurt for lunch with a sprinkle of crunchy granola. Here is my recipe for granola. I change it up each time I make it. Combining different fruits and nuts, sometimes adding coconut or cocoa nibs. Eliminating the oil or butter, whatever I feel like. Make it your own and enjoy!
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant)
3/4 cup sliced or slivered almonds or pecans or walnuts (really your favorite nuts)
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 tablespoon wheat germ (optional)
½ T. flax seed (optional)
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons canola oil or 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup pure maple syrup (preferably Grade A Dark Amber)
1 cup dried fruits (cranberries, cherries, apricots, dates, figs, and/or raisins) (optional)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
In a large bowl combine the rolled oats, all nuts, seeds, wheat germ, ground cinnamon, brown sugar and salt.
In a small bowl, stir together the oil (or melted butter), vanilla and maple syrup.
Pour this mixture over the dry ingredients and toss together, making sure all the dry is coated with the wet.
Spread onto a baking sheet and bake for about 30 - 45 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally so the mixture browns evenly. (The browner the granola gets (without burning) the crunchier the granola will be.) I set my timer for 10 minutes, then stir and reset for another 10 minutes etc.
Remove from the oven and cool. You will notice that the granola may still be sticky when it is removed from the oven but it will become crisp and dry as it cools. Make sure to break up any large clumps of granola while the mixture is still warm. Add fruits at this point. Stir to combine. The reason why you don't bake the fruit is so it doesn't get dry and hard.
Dried fruits, of your choice ~ cranberries, cherries, pineapple, currants, raisins, dates, figs, and apricots ~ or even chocolate chips can be stirred into the baked and cooled granola.
Try adding coconut, cocoa nibs or whatever you want for YOUR own granola.
I store my homemade granola in a Tupperware style container and it stays fresh for several weeks (maybe months, but it never has lasted that long)!