My wife and I had a great time in Seattle for a mini vacation, and discovered several new spots worth visiting again. I’ll post a review of the trip soon, but for now I’m home and in the kitchen. Since it is cooler out it’s time to fire up the oven and bake some granola. You all know I like to spend as little time as possible in the kitchen, but there are exceptions and granola is one of those.
Granola has been around since 1863 when a man named Dr James C. Jackson called his version Granula as part of his healthy diet regimen. Others like Dr John Harvey Kellogg made his version but changed the name to Granola after being sued by Dr. Jackson.
The hippies of the 1960’s might be the ones who brought this healthy breakfast food back to popularity, and now days you can find as many as 10 different brands in any given grocery store vying for your attention. But why buy granola when you can make your own large batch?
It’s main perk is you make/cook it once and eat it for days or weeks after. When you make it yourself you have control of what goes in it. Granola is one of those foods that has several ingredient options available. You can put many types of nuts in it, or no nuts at all. You can put many types of dried fruits in it like apricots, apples, raisins, currants, cranberries, pears, pineapple or dates. Then you can put your choice of sweetener in it too. I like using honey, but brown sugar, or even agave would work.
You also get to chose to make organic, or not. I almost always chose organic even though some say there is little or no difference in purity and quality.
So next time you see an old hippie, thank them for bringing back granola, and try this batch soon in your kitchen. It’s a great recipe to get your kids to help with too.
Home made Granola
10 cups rolled oats
4 cups coconut
3 cups sliced almonds
1 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
1 can frozen unsweetened apple juice
1 cup canola oil
1 cup honey
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup ground cinnamon
4 cups chopped dried apples
2 cups golden raisins
2 cups dried cranberries
Mix together in a large bowl oats, coconut, sunflower seeds, and sliced almonds and set aside.
In a 1 1/2 quart pot combine apple juice, oil, honey, almond extract, salt, and cinnamon. Cook over low heat stirring often until honey is melted and all ingredients are combined.
Pour over oats and mix well.
Spread over baking sheets and bake for 1 hour at 325 degrees. Stir occasionally- every 15 minutes or less, and rotate pans.
Cool on pans and when cool add apples, raisins, and cranberries
Sometimes it’s hard to find dried apples so feel free to substitute other dried fruits like apricots, pineapple, dates, pluots, peaches, or whatever else is available that sounds like it would work.
When stirring be sure to rotate pans from top shelf to bottom each time you stir.
Adapted from a recipe at Mendano Zapata Ranch in Southern Colorado.