I’ve mentioned before that I love oats. I firmly believe that including a cup of old-fashioned rolled oats in any cookie recipe will make it better. Oats just add a wonderful texture and flavor to most things, making whatever it is heartier and gives you a better mouth-feel. Not to mention all the health benefits that oats provide: lowering cholesterol, good for your cardiovascular health, improving immune system response, a great source of fiber — and I could go on!
This recipe for granola is my first attempt, so I can’t say that I have much for comparison. Nevertheless, it is a great recipe. It uses no sugar, just honey. In fact, aside from the honey and oil used to coat the oats and nuts for roasting, you can see every ingredients used in this recipe. The honey provides a deeper sweetness that is complemented by the brighter flavor of the coconut flakes and raisins. It is a simple recipe that you can easily modify based on what you like to snack on.
Homemade Granola, adapted from Ina Garten’s recipe
4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
2 cups sliced almonds
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup good honey
1 1/2 cups small diced dried apricots
1 cup small diced dried figs
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup roasted, unsalted cashews
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Toss the oats, coconut, and almonds together in a large bowl. Whisk together the oil and honey in a small bowl. Pour the liquids over the oat mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until all the oats and nuts are coated. Pour onto a 13 by 18 by 1-inch sheet pan. Bake, stirring occasionally with a spatula, until the mixture turns a nice, even, golden brown, about 45 minutes.
3. Remove the granola from the oven and allow to cool, stirring occasionally. Add the apricots, figs, cherries, cranberries, and cashews. Store the cooled granola in an airtight container.
I had some of this granola for breakfast with milk as cereal and it was delicious. The roasted flavors of the nuts and honey gives the milk a wonderfully burnt flavor that has just a hint of sweetness. This granola is great over some yogurt as well.
I made this granola recipe my own by omitting a lot of the dried fruits in the original recipe because I simply did not have them or did not like them. For me, I added raisins to one batch and semi-sweet chocolate chips to another. The raisins add a wonderful burst of flavor and moisture to the crispy granola and the semi-sweet chocolate chips contrasts really well with its bitter taste to the granola’s sweeter tones.
I would be careful to keep an eye on the granola as it is in the oven. Be careful to stir it frequently or it will come out too burnt! But, of course, if you like a bolder/darker flavor to your granola, you can let it roast a bit longer.