Saturday, March 24, 2012

Happily Homemade: Fruity Granola

Ever since I was served homemade granola by my friend Rachel during a visit to her place a while back, I've been kind of obsessed with making my own granola. I've poured over granola recipes. I've compared ingredients. I've experimented. I've accidentally allowed a couple batches to get a little too toasty. And I've eaten a lot of granola.

After all of that, I think I've finally landed on the composition of my favorite homemade granola. It has everything I was looking for: a bit of crunch, a bit of chew, a dash of spice, low in fat, high in fiber, and just different enough to keep me from getting bored with granola. It's also super easy to make, open to alterations as you wish, and quite inexpensive. Without further ado, here's my favorite Fruity Granola:

First, preheat oven to 250. In a large bowl, measure out 2 1/2 cups rolled oats, 1/2 cup quick oats, 2/3 cup ground flax, and 1/2 cup crisped rice cereal.

Add to that 1/4 cup raw sunflower meats, 1/2 cup sliced raw almonds, and 1 cup dried fruit (I used currants, golden raisins, and snipped apricots) and mix well.

In a 2-cup liquid measuring cup (or small bowl), stir together 2 Tb canola oil, 2 Tb maple syrup, 1/4 cup honey, 1/4 cup pomegranate molasses, 2 tsp salt, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground cardamom, and 1/4 cup brown sugar until sugar is dissolved and mixture is well blended. 

Pour the wet mixture over the dry ingredients in the bowl and stir with a rubber spatula until all of the dry ingredients are moistened. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and spread out the granola mixture into an even layer. Bake for 30-40 minutes until nicely toasted, stirring the granola and rotating the pan every 10 minutes. When fragrant and toasty brown, remove from oven and allow to cool in pan. When cool, store in an airtight container for up to 1 month.

I love this granola with milk as cereal, with fresh fruit and yogurt as a parfait, or just by the handful as a snack. The pomegranate molasses and cardamom set this apart from regular granola by lending a certain fruitiness. If you can't find pomegranate molasses, or don't have cardamom, have fun experimenting with substitutions until you discover your own favorite granola concoction.

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