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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Homemade Granola Recipe

People are funny about granola. Everyone seems to have their own verrrry specific taste preferences when it comes to this glorious oat concoction. Some people like it to be very crunchy without many chunks, others like it a bit chewier with lots of clusters. Some like nuts, others don’t, some like it to taste “healthy” while others prefer it to be a bit more dessert-like.

And really, there is a humongous difference between good and bad granola. The bad stuff is enough to convince people they hate granola…and sadly, that’s the stuff on most grocery store shelves.

But, if you take the leap and make granola at home (and it’s surprisingly easy to make), well then you never have to suffer the sad saga of crappy granola ever again.

When it comes to granola, crunchy and crispy is the way I roll. I like lots of big chunks and clusters (easier for snacking). I prefer granola just lightly sweetened, which means I can still feel virtuous eating it for breakfast, but I do like subtle hints of vanilla and some caramel/nutty flavors.

After lots of recipe testing, I found that using a combination of agave nectar and dark brown sugar for sweetness and a bit of grapeseed oil (instead of butter or another oil) provides the most mouth-watering flavor. Oh, and don’t forget the salt!

I use slivered almonds for their taste and texture, and I swear that adding some shredded coconut seals the deal. I like dried cranberries for their tang. Oh, and for some reason, a proper granola just HAS to be full of sesame seeds. This is probably my Mom’s doing….my recipe is based loosely on hers.

Crispy Crunchy Cranberry Almond Granola

3 cups rolled oats
¼ cup sesame seeds
¾ cup slivered almonds
¾ cup shredded coconut

¼ cup dark brown sugar
¼ cup agave nectar
¼ cup grapeseed oil
¾ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp vanilla

½ cup cranberries
½ cup raisins

Turn oven to 350 degrees. Toast the oats, sesame seeds, almonds and coconut on a rimmed sheet pan for 7 minutes stirring once (watch the coconut because it browns quite quickly).

Meanwhile, in a saucepan over medium heat, combine dark brown sugar, agave nectar, grapeseed oil and salt. Stir occasionally until brown sugar dissolves. Take off heat and stir in vanilla.

Reduce oven temp to 300 degrees

In large bowl, mix the warm oat mixture with the brown sugar mixture and toss to coat. Add the cranberries and raisins and mix well.

Pour mixture into a greased “brownie/lasagna pan” and bake for 20-15 minutes. Let cool slightly before breaking into chunks. Keep in a sealed plastic bag or container.


shila said...

Tasty! And I agree that sesame seeds are mighty tasty in a good granola.

Sara said...

Mmmmmm, sounds delicious!

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