Saturday, November 19, 2011

Weekend Recipe: Ridiculously Delicious Healthy Granola

As I've mentioned before, I love a good granola mix. And while I definitely tip my hat to a handful of eateries for serving awesome versions of the hippie-happy snack (Earth Bar in LA, Juice Generation in NYC, and Rose Bakery in Paris makes my favorites), there's nothing like whipping up fresh granola at home. Not only does it fill every room in your house with an insanely entrancing aroma while it's baking, but I like the fact that I can monitor every ingredient that goes into it to avoid reaching my sugar quota for the day in just one sitting.

Below is my tried-and-true recipe, but feel free to spice up yours with fun things like vanilla, nutmeg, vegan peanut or pumpkin butter (so good), carob chips, organic maple syrup, dried currants, dates, and more. Enjoy!

Parchment paper
Large Bowl
15x10 Inch Baking Pan
Airtight Container

6 cups organic rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
2 cups mixed nuts and seeds:
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1 cup dried unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)
1/2 cup of dried unsweetened cranberries
1/2 cup of raisins
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Dash of salt
Sweetener: 1/2 cup of agave nectar and 1/2 cup apple sauce

1. Heat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, combine oats, nuts and seeds, dried cranberries, raisins, cinnamon, and salt. Drizzle in the sweetener and stir well with a wooden spoon to get everything coated. Need more liquids? Add an extra tbsp of applesauce or a splash of fresh orange juice.
2. Spread the mix out into a large baking pan lined with parchment paper and bake for 35 minutes, checking and stirring every 10 minutes so that nothing burns. Mixture should brown evenly; the longer it bakes and the browner it gets without burning, the crunchier (and more ridiculously delicious) the granola will be. Stir in the dried coconut during the last 15 minutes of baking.
3. Remove pan from oven. Cool on a rack and stir every few minutes until granola reaches room temperature. If you want to make your taste buds really happy, try it while it's still a little warm. Eat it solo, mix it with fresh fruit, or use it as a topping for your homemade Acai bowl (recipe forthcoming!). Transfer remaining granola to an airtight container and store in your fridge to maintain freshness. 

Yields about 8 cups (16 servings)

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