The very idea of granola always turned me off. The word conjured visions of unwashed people eating wood shavings. And then I discovered home-made granola. O.M.G. It is incredible. And really easy to make. Adding to the basic joy is that you can adapt the recipe to suit your personal likes. Breakfast (and snack time) has never been so delicious.
Here we go:
5 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1-1/2 cups slivered almonds
1 cup sweetened or unsweetened shredded coconut
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup melted coconut oil (or butter)
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
* * * * * * * *
Preheat oven to 300F degrees.
Toss the oats, almonds, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl.
I like to cut down on the number of dishes to wash by using the same 4-cup measuring cup used to measure the oats to measure and combine the coconut oil and maple syrup. If you have never used coconut oil, you might think it would impart a strong flavor. It does not. It is solid when cold, like slush at 75F degrees, and liquid at 90F degrees. You can use butter or your preferred oil instead but I really like the coconut oil.
Since the coconut oil will go chunky when you add cold maple syrup (or depending on the temperature of your house it may be solid in the jar), you’ll want to stick the syrup/oil mixture into the microwave for 30 seconds (possibly twice or three times) so it can be whisked to combine. Stir in the almond and vanilla extracts, then pour the whole thing over the oats mixture, tossing to thoroughly coat the dry ingredients, and then spread evenly, all the way to the edges, onto a 13×18 half-sheet pan lined with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
Bake for 15 minutes, stir the granola around, bake for another 15 minutes, stir again, then bake for another 15 minutes, for a total cooking time of 45 minutes.
After it has cooled on the counter (about half an hour), mix in 1-1/2 cups of whatever combination of dried fruits strikes your fancy. I really like candied ginger but because it is so strong, I wouldn’t recommend using more than 1/2 cup. Chopped dried cherries are my current favorite.
Store in an airtight container for up to three weeks, although I doubt you’ll have any around that long.