October 3, 2012

Maple Almond Granola

Granola. Granola. Granola. All the rage and kind of boring at this point if you've been in any supermarket, farm market, or, even a McDonald's lately. But, really: it's one of the easiest things to make at home with a mish mash of things you have in your pantry, so it's a staple in our house. For years I used this NY Times Olive Oil Granola recipe (subbing sunflower seeds for pistachios and dried cherries or raisins for the apricots). But, much like anything you eat too much of, the olive oil taste began to wear on me, and batches would go unfinished. That recipe makes a heavier almost desert-like granola, not an everyday breakfast. So, I've been experimenting with various granolas and last weekend made a batch I've been happy with. Not too sweet, not too heavy, with a nice, nutty, toasted taste.

So, I give you: more granola.

Maple Almond Granola (for FALL!)
3 heaping cups old-fashioned oats
2/3 cup roasted, unsalted almonds (roughly chopped)
1/2 cup toasted sunflower seeds
2 Tbsp flax seeds
1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1/2 cup flaked unsweetened coconut
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 - 3/4 tsp salt (depending on how you like it)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup good (real!) maple syrup
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup dried cherries, raisins, chopped apricots, dates or dried fruit of your liking.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Combine oats, almonds and sunflower, flax and sesame seeds. Add coconut, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Toss until evenly combined. Add honey, maple syrup, vegetable and olive oil and stir until oats are well coated. Spread evenly in a large baking sheet or pan (I like with a silpat) and bake, tossing every 10 minutes, for about 30 minutes. Oats should be toasted and a light golden brown throughout. Once out of the oven, add the dried fruit and stir in while oats are still hot.

Make it, adapt it, gift it, enjoy it with yogurt, fresh ricotta, ice cream, milk of your choice or by the handful. I like mine, in the fall, with all those beautiful apples that are growing out there now. I recommend going with a tarter apple like honeycrisp, macoun, or jonathan, if you're going that direction.