Friday, December 04, 2009

Maple Granola

This stuff is seriously delicious. It's calorie-dense, but full of healthful things like nuts and dried fruit. It's certainly much better for breakfast than store-bought cold cereal.

I adapted this recipe from Alton Brown's granola. My version takes out the coconut (I'm allergic), and adds more kinds of nuts. For the dried fruit, you can use anything approximately raisin-sized. My favorite is dried blueberries, but they are expensive. I've had yummy results with craisins (dried cranberries), regular and golden raisins, and dried apricots chopped into raisin-sized bits. I often mix several fruits to make up the amount.

I buy my nuts, seeds, and dried fruit at Trader Joes, whenever I can get there. Their nut prices are much cheaper than most other stores, and the quality is great. TJ's is also my best-price source for real maple syrup, which is an absolute requirement here. Don't even think about using that fake-maple pancake syrup. If you desecrate my granola recipe with that junk, I will hunt you down!

4 cups rolled oats
1 cup raw slivered or sliced almonds (I prefer sliced when I can get them)
1 cup raw cashews, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup raw walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon (optional)
2/3 cup REAL pure maple syrup
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup dried fruit, in pieces approximately raisin-sized

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, brown sugar, and cinnamon (if using).
In another bowl, combine the maple syrup, oil, and salt. Combine both mixtures and pour onto 2 non-stick or foil-lined sheet pans. Toast in the preheated oven 1 hour and 20 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes.

Remove granola from oven and dump into a large bowl. Add the dried fruit and mix until evenly distributed. Allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container in a cool place.

Delicious in a bowl of milk as breakfast cereal, or eaten dry as a high-energy snack any time of day.

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