It has been a while! I did not disappear – I was enjoying a decadent dark chocolate cake with a glass of Merlot at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel in Seattle. Is there anything as decadent as room service? I was there for a training and had a couple of posts lined up, but didn’t have time to do much other than study, eat, sleep, and enjoy the health club facilities with the perfect morning coffee and free bottled water. (I still can’t believe that they are charging $8.00 for a bottle of water if you dare to open it in your room.)
Then, in the midst of taking a family picture, I sacrificed my little camera by attempting to use the back of a chair as a pedestal. So, I am without a camera (until a new one can be found and bought) and I have only a couple of pictures of some granola to share with you.
I started making homemade granola about 6 months ago when cereal costs shot through the roof. I am floored sometimes by how much they charge for a box of the stuff. I know you can find it on sale, but seriously, $5.00? That’s crazy! Plus, it isn’t all that great for you (or if it is, it looks like little fiber sticks and tastes terrible.)
A friend of mine at work introduced me to the world of King Arthur Flour. If you haven’t been by their web site, cruise over and take a look. Aside from selling a slew of hard-to-find baking items, they have an entire index of wonderful baking recipes. I like granola, but have never been a huge fan until trying out this recipe. It is full of nuts that add crunch, sweetened with natural maple syrup, and it gives the impression that it might even be good for you by adding in wheat germ. The other great thing is that it is made using a kitchen scale which makes it come together really quickly and easily.
It has become a breakfast staple in our home and I love to eat it on top of some Nancy’s Honey Yogurt.
adapted from King Arthur Flour
7 cups (1 1/2 pounds) rolled oats, uncooked
1 cup (4 ounces) flaked unsweetened coconut (optional, but good)
1 cup (4 ounces) stabilized wheat germ
1 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sliced almonds
1 cup (4 ounces) diced pecans or walnuts
1 cup (5 ounces) sunflower seeds, raw or toasted
zest of one orange
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (11 ounces) pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) vanilla extract
2 packages pomegranate infused cranberries
Place a large bowl on top of your scale and tare it. Mix together the oats, coconut, wheat germ, almonds, pecans, sunflower seeds, and orange zest. In a separate bowl, stir together the vegetable oil, salt, maple syrup (don’t try and use anything other than pure maple syrup), and vanilla extract. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry and stir together until completely mixed.
Line two baking pans with parchment paper and divide the granola onto the two baking pans. Bake @ 250 degrees for 90 minutes, swapping the pans (rotating levels and turning around) each 15 minutes.* Rest the granola in the pans until completely cool. Pour back into a bowl and mix in the dried fruit of your choice (I used cranberries). Store in an airtight container.
I have also made the following variations and loved each one: dried blueberries with lemon zest or no citrus zest and just dried cranberries.
*I use the edges of the parchment to move the granola around by lifting the sides and allowing it to pool in the center and then leveling it out again.
So…how do you enjoy your granola, with milk or yogurt?