Years ago, well, 2002 to be exact my sister was telling me about this wonderful granola recipe she was addicted to. She sent me the recipe, and I made it several times, it was wonderful, I think she got it out of a magazine in a waiting room somewhere… since then I have made a few notes, sometimes I use less sugar, more cinnamon, different nuts, different dried fruit. It’s just granola, so add more of what you like and less of what you don’t! It’s wonderful on top of yogurt, in a bowl with milk (and fruit) or all by itself! I add more cinnamon if I think i’ll be eating it out of hand, less if I think I’ll be topping yogurt and fruit, but it’s up to you my friend, do what you like! This is what I do…
Hint… this is especially good… plain Greek yogurt, a swirl of honey, a few tablespoons of granola and a sliced banana… it will keep you going strong for hours!
4 cups old fashioned oats (any brand will do, but old fashioned and not the quick cooking, it won’t be the same, I speak from experience!)
1 1/2 cups (or more) slivered almonds (this is key… the thicker crunch, the TASTE of the almond, oh yeah, SLIVERED, not SLICED)
1/2 cup (or less) LOOSELY packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon (or less) cinnamon
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon (real) vanilla
1 1/2 cups (more or less depending on your taste) of dried tart cherries (you can use ANY DRIED FRUIT YOU LIKE, I find cherries to be especially scrumptious, decadent and GOOD FOR YOU!)
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. If you’re using a dark pan, you might want to bump it down a bit, every oven is different, just keep an eye on it!
In a LARGE bowl, mix together the oats, almonds, sugar, salt and cinnamon with a wooden spoon. (This is the pre-stir together pic, go ahead and stir it up good, but gently, don’t want to break up the oatmeal).
HINT: when measuring this mixture, use the measuring cup to measure the OLIVE OIL first, then the honey, it will slide right out!
Warm the olive oil and honey mixture. You warm this mixture by placing it in a small pan on the stove (low), or in the microwave if you PROMISE not to walk away from it, you don’t want it HOT, you just want it warm enough to mix together… it doesn’t take long! Hmmm, sounds like I’ve repeated this step before, doesn’t it?
Once the olive oil and honey mixture is WARM (not hot), add the vanilla… PURE vanilla please.
Now you want to drizzle the warm honey/olive oil/vanilla mixture over the dry oat mixture. You want to drizzle and not pour like I did in this photo… Do what I say, not what I do… ha. I was trying to take a photo and pour, apparently I don’t have those skills down pat… yet! Give me time! Good grief, what part of DRIZZLE didn’t I get?? It’s all good, some quick subtle stirring is needed to coat the oat mixture with the oil mixture… gentle, remember you don’t want it to be the consistency of flour when you’re done…
I know, I know! This looks a tad pale… trust me, after it basks in the warm glow of the oven it will turn a magical color… Now pour this mixture onto an ungreased 9 x 13 cookie sheet. It’s ready for the oven! Bake it at 300 degrees for 40 minutes total… STIR IT AROUND EVERY TEN MINUTES!
After it’s done, pull it out of the oven and let it cool on a wire rack.
Once cooled, go ahead and add the dried fruit. In my batch, I’m adding dried tart cherries.
Store the granola in an airtight container and it will last for 7-10 days, or freeze it and it will last 3 months!
Catch you back here tomorrow!