well, it’s official. granola is not just for hippies anymore. it has enjoyed a real resurgence lately, even a boutique status, if you will. but for many of us, it has been part of our lives for years. the simplicity of the ingredients really speaks for itself: grains, nuts, seeds, and pure and naturally sweet fruit, the flavor intensified by drying.
i used to be one of those chumps who would buy it by the pound at the health food store until our friend, doctor mark, passed on this recipe for homemade granola from alton brown, his culinary hero. i have changed it up a bit over the years; tweaking measurements of this and that, changing the ingredients around, basically using it as a base recipe. it is best topped with a big dollop of plain yogurt.
cowgirl granola (adapted from alton brown)
3 cups rolled oats (old fashioned, not instant or quick cook)
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup cashews
1/2 cup raw pepita seeds (aka pumpkin seeds)
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
3/4 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened, depending on your sweet tooth)
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup dried fruit of your choice (raisins, dried cherries, figs, banana chips-go crazy!)
preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
in a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, coconut, and brown sugar. in a separate bowl, combine honey or maple syrup, oil, and salt. it’s important to to mix wet & dry ingredients separately. combine both mixtures and pour onto 2 foil or parchment covered sheet pans (this is important for clean up purposes only). bake for 35-45 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes to achieve an even color. you might also want to rotate pans about half way through baking in case your oven has some uneven heat spots. i like to take the mixture to a pretty deep golden color, but you should take it out when it has achieved your favorite level of golden brown. remember, also, that there will be a bit of residual cooking once mixture is removed from the oven.
transfer to a large bowl and let cool a few minutes. add dried fruit while mixture is still warm and mix until evenly distributed.
allow to cool completely, breaking up large chunks as it cools if you prefer ( i like to leave it kinda chunky). store in an airtight container in the freezer for best results-that way your fruit won’t make your oats soggy. lasts indefinitely.