Crunchy granola recipe… for the people!

Granola! Flickr Creative Commons/Stu Spivak

Photo: Flickr Creative Commons/Stu Spivack

For months, I heard nothing. About granola, that is. Then, in the past week, requests for my recipe for this humble breakfast food started pouring in. Ok — so maybe I’ve only had two inquiries. It still constitutes a pattern, I say!

If the people want it, I will provide.

(Recipe after the jump)

Crunchy Granola

Makes 5 or 6 cups

•    ¼ cup oil (coconut or light olive oil work well)
•    ¼-½ cup liquid sweetener (agave nectar, honey, etc.)
•    ½ cup apple sauce or ¼ cup apple juice concentrate
•    dash salt
•    ½ tsp. vanilla extract
•    4 cups rolled oats

•    1 cup nuts, raw or roasted,  chopped
•    ½ cup raisins, dried cranberries, chopped dried apricots, or other dried fruit (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 F.

In large mixing bowl, combine oil, sweetener, apple sauce or apple juice concentrate, salt, and vanilla extract. Whisk together until well blended. Add oats and mix until they are completely coated.

Oil two shallow baking sheets and spread layer of the oat mixture about 1/2″ thick on each one. Bake for 12 minutes, then remove trays and carefully flip sections of the mixture with a spatula.  To ensure even baking, turn each baking tray around and return to opposite racks (i.e. the tray that was on the top rack of the oven should now be on the bottom, and vice versa. Each tray should be turned 180 degrees from its original position).

Repeat the 12-minute baking and turning process a second time. This time, before putting the trays back in the oven, you can add the nuts if they’re raw*, spreading them over the oat mixture.

Bake for a final 12 minutes, checking once or twice to make sure no part of the oats are burning. By the end, the oats should be dried and browned and look like – you guessed it – granola! Adjust the baking time if necessary.

When the granola and nuts are done, allow everything to cool. Then add the dried fruit, if desired. Mix well and transfer to airtight containers. The granola can keep this way for up to a few weeks if the weather is cool and dry. It may not last that long, though!

*If you have oven space, you can roast the nuts separately while you’re baking the granola. Almonds, cashews, and walnuts, will take 8-12 minutes. Watch carefully so they don’t get overzealous and burn. When the nuts are roasted and still warm, you can chop them if you’d like (they’re much easier to chop when warm).

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