20 minutes later, I am still snacking on the ultimate, sweet but not too sweet, crunchy and clustery, nutty and fruity, breakfast, dessert, and snack-worthy homemade granola.
Warning: this wholesome granola recipe is dangerously addicting. I think I reached for at least four more handfuls on that same day.
There is something so utterly comforting about granola, and cereal in general. I can eat it for my main meal with a splash of milk or yogurt, I can eat it straight from the box, I can pack it up and eat it on the go, or I can put a little (or a lot) on top of ice cream. Granola can be added to muffin batter to give it that extra crunch, or used in a French toast recipe. You can also use it as a topping for a light fruit crisp.
Today I blended a frozen banana, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, and a ½ cup of nonfat milk and swirled in some granola for a finishing touch! This was a real energy-boosting treat!
It is so easy to go to the supermarket and buy granola, but making it yourself is easy and you can use all of your favorite add-ins. My personal favorites are walnuts, dates, and dried figs.
Adapted from epicurious.com
Yield: makes about 7 cups
1 ¼ cups of nuts of your choice (I like to use walnuts, almonds, pecans, and/or cashews)
4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
¼ cup of seeds, sesame or sunflower
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1/3 cup of pure maple syrup or honey (I like to use both!)
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cup dried fruit mixture of your choice (I use raisins, cranberries, figs, apricots, dates)
a little handful of shredded coconut (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a large shallow baking sheet with foil.
2. Spread the nuts on the sheet and roast for 8-10 minutes, until lightly toasted. Transfer the nuts to a board, let them cool, and chop (I usually just break them apart with my fingers).
3. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F.
4. Pour the oats and seeds in a mound on the same baking sheet. Melt the butter and stir in the maple syrup/honey mixture and salt. Drizzle this on top of the oats. Stir well with a rubber spatula (aka a schmoosher!) and spread the oats out in an even layer.
5. Bake for about 30 minutes until the oats are lightly colored, stirring once with the spatula halfway through. Toss in the coconut for the last 5-10 minutes of baking.
6. Let cool; the mixture will crisp as it cools. Add the dried fruit, and reserved nuts and toss.
7. EAT and share a little, too!