Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Best Granola Ever

Put your wallet away and step away from the store granola.

When I first met this granola recipe, it stopped me dead in my tracks. Up until that point, I had been buying what I deemed pretty mediocre granola at exorbitant prices, prices that really just seemed to creep higher and higher each time I visited my local store. I don't mind paying for a superior product, but something always seemed to be lacking for my tastes: too sweet, too hard, too mushy, I could go on. My quest for the perfect granola finally ended with this recipe, tweaked from Early Bird's Farmhand's Choice version, which was shared on The Martha Stewart Show. After making this endless times, I finally found exactly what I like - crunchy (more "dry"), slightly sweet, a touch salty with tart bursts. This is it!

I love granola best in its original, snacking form; but it's delicious over Greek yogurt, sprinkled with berries and a light drizzle of unfiltered honey. Splurge vs. Steal, optional. ;) Enjoy!

The Best Granola Ever
Adapted from Early Bird Foods

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds, hulled
1 cup raw sunflower seeds, hulled (I'll use roasted if I can't find raw)
1 cup unsweetened coconut chips (the large, beautiful flakes!)
1 raw pecans, coarsely chopped (I think the pecans MAKE this granola!)
1/2 cup sliced or slivered blanched almonds
3/4 cup pure maple syrup (Grade B has a nice, rich flavor that's good for baking)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup dried sour cherries
Coarse salt: 1 teaspoon, pre-baking + more to taste, post-baking

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Place oats, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut, pecans and almonds in a large bowl. Pour maple syrup and olive oil in a measuring cup, add 1 teaspoon salt and stir. Add liquid mixture to bowl and mix until well combined. Spread granola mixture in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Transfer to oven and bake, stirring every 10 minutes, until granola is toasted, about 45-50 minutes.

Remove granola from oven and season with additional salt to taste (I use at least another teaspoon). Gently mix in dried sour cherries. Let cool completely before serving or storing in an airtight container for up to 1 month. (It won't last that long!)


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