Saturday, September 18, 2010

Homemade Granola - Nutty Maple Granola Recipe

None of the ingredients in this recipe came from our garden.  So why include it in our gardening blog?  Because it is so delicious, that's why!

Nutty Maple Granola Recipe
6 cups large flake oats
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
3/4 cup walnuts
3/4 cup almonds
3/4 cup hazelnuts
2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 325.
Crush your nuts! (This line makes my boys giggle and wince!)
In a huge bowl, mix oats, seeds, nuts and cinnamon.
In a small bowl, mix oil, syrup and vanilla.
Pour oil mixture into oat mixture and stir until well distributed.
On a cookie sheet with a high edge (I use our stone pan), spread out half of the mixture.
Bake for 20 to 30 minutes.
Starting at 15 minutes, stir the granola every 5-8 minutes.  I've found the edges start getting crisp much quicker than the granola in the centre of the pan.  And, I discovered that granola can go from beautiful golden brown to dark and burnt very quickly.
Take out and bake the second batch.
Cool granola completely before storing in an airtight container.  It will keep for several months or you can also freeze it for extra freshness.

Makes about 9 cups of granola

Dried Fruit
I like my granola without dried fruit.  But for those of you who prefer to add dried fruit, you can add whatever kind you'd like (raisins, apricots, craisins, prunes, cherries, dates, apples, banana chips, etc.), after the granola comes out of the oven.  Because the fruit is already dried and preserved, it doesn't need the extra heat processing and may even taste burnt if you do put it in the oven.

Other Additions
The beauty of homemade granola is that you can add whatever you prefer.  Add more seeds (pumpkin seeds, flax seed, sesame seeds), use different nuts (pecans, peanuts, coconut) or add nutritious boosts (wheat germ, oat bran, hemp hearts).

Special Flavours
This recipe features maple syrup, but you can easily change that as well.  Instead of syrup, try honey, brown sugar or some combination.  I often add a little bit of homemade preserves to the mix as well - 1/2 cup apple sauce, strawberry freezer jam, or apple butter.

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