With the arrival of spring comes the urge to get back into shape and lighten our diets. Regular exercise routines start now and for breakfast we’ll have granola. It was our first attempt at making it and it turned out great. It’s a loose recipe concept therefore it can be adjusted to fit what you like or to use ingredients on hand. When I was thinking about making granola for us, I wanted to use a variety of nuts and seeds that would otherwise be tough to include in our daily diets, putting a focus on making a highly nutritious granola.
Granola recipe :
(5 cups rolled grains)
18 oz old fashioned oats (5 cups)
(3-4 cups nuts and seeds)
1 cup walnuts chopped
1 cup pecans chopped
1 cup almonds chopped or slivered
¼ cup sesame seeds
¼ cup millet
¼ cup flax seeds ground
(1¼ cup syrup)
¾ cup maple syrup
½ cup honey
(3 cups dried fruit)
uncrystallized candied ginger
The oats we used were labeled organic old fashioned oven toasted oats. I think just about any rolled oat or rolled grain would work. It was an 18 oz cylinder which equaled about 5 cups. I measured them out first to give me an idea of the proportions of the other ingredients. Oats will be the base of the granola although I wanted it to be less than half of the entire granola. Place the oats in a giant bowl.
Next up is the nuts and seeds. For nuts we used walnuts, pecans, and almonds. The walnuts we used were pre-chopped and I hand chopped the pecans. The almonds we used were raw and whole, I didn’t want any whole nuts in the mix so instead of chopping again I pulsed them in the magic bullet (or a food processor) to basically make a coarse almond meal. This worked great but I think slivered almond would be ideal. Include other nuts if you have them or love them – cashew, hazelnut, peanut, etc. As you measure out the nuts place them in the bowl with the oats.
For seeds we used sesame, millet, and flax seeds. It was a heaping ¼ cup of each. We had flax seeds so we ground them up before adding them to the mix. Other seeds that would be nice are sunflower and pumpkin. Add the seeds to the bowl.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix the oats, nuts, and seeds together and get ready to dress it up with syrup. I used about 1¼ cup of syrup total – ¾ cup organic maple syrup and ½ cup honey. You can use other types of syrup if you prefer or include a little olive oil as well. Pour syrup mixture over the oats and stir. Transfer the sticky granola to a large baking dish, we used a 9×12 lasagna dish. Sprinkle cardamom over the top, stir and repeat. Cardamom is optional, I just love the flavor. I probably used about 2 teaspoons or so. You may consider using other spices as well like cinnamon or nutmeg. It’s delicious and flavorful without additional spice though.
Place the baking dish in the over and stir every 5-10 minutes. I baked this granola for about 50 minutes, probably could have taken it out of the oven after 40 minutes. Cooking time will vary depending on your oven and your baking dish. But be prepared to tend to it in order to prevent it from burning. It will need to be stirred regularly throughout the baking. When the granola becomes golden it is ready to take out of the oven. Allow it to cool completely.
As the baked granola is cooling measure out the dried fruit. Get a good mixture going, about 3 cups worth. We started off with Trader Joe’s “golden berry blend” which was 8 oz, about 2 cups. It included: golden raisins, cherries, cranberries, & blueberries. Then we added a small handful of uncrystallized candied ginger chopped and topped it off with extra cranberries. Stir dried fruit into cooled granola mixture and transfer to an air-tight container for storage.
My favorite way to eat granola is on top of yogurt!
ps the next time I made this I added dried coconut!