Vanilla-scented granola

I love having my home-made yogurt for breakfast, sprinkled with granola from Terra Breads.  Terra Breads makes the best granola ever existed, and almost all the ingredients are organic.  I am all for paying a little extra for quality.  Having said that, it is over $15 for a 2-lb bag.

I have heard of people making their own granola, so I set out to find a recipe I would like.  After reading through a bunch of recipes on Epicurious, I found this vanilla-scented granola recipe that sounded interesting.  How ever good a recipe sounds, and how ever many people gives it two thumbs up, I just can’t leave the recipe alone.  I have this habit of tweaking things to my liking (or my limitations).

This is my version of the recipe (eliminating sugar, reducing the oil, increasing the honey, and different ingredients due to preference).

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups organic old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup organic raw slivered almonds
  • 1 cup organic raw cashew nuts\
  • 1/3 cup organic ground flax seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil (next time I’m going to try coconut oil)
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup honey (I didn’t measure mine, so I can’t tell exactly how much I used)
  • 5 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • dried cranberries and raisins

Direction:

1. Preheat oven to 300 F.  Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a small sauce pan, heat oil and honey to simmer.  Remove pan from heat, add vanilla extract.  Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, mix all the other dry ingredients together except the dried fruits.  Pour the warm honey mixture over the dry ingredients and mix well.

4. Pour the contents of the large bowl over the lined baking sheet.  Spread the oats evenly over the baking sheet.

5. Bake at 300 F for 10-12 minutes.  Stir the mixture around to ensure even baking.  Bake for another 12-14 minutes, stirring the mixture 2 more times.  The original recipe states to bake for 30 minutes, but I find that at 27 minutes my granola was becoming a bit more golden brown than I liked in the convection oven.  So next time I would cut back to 24 or 25 minutes in total.

6. Let the granola cool, mix in the dried fruits, and store in an air tight container for up to two weeks.

The result?  I loved it.  Even though the final product turned out crunchier than my liking, the I felt like I was in control of the ingredients and sweetness.  The granola has just the right amount of sweetness and a variety of interesting textures.  I definitely don’t think more oil or adding sugar would have made this recipe any better than it is.  I think next time I would try adding some dried dates or apricot or blueberries, or even dried coconut flakes.  I would also bake it for a little less time to retain some of the chewiness of oats.

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