The word granola conjures up certain memories in my brain. Memories of my once-mean older sister Megan. She used to be quite rotten to me (like most older sisters are) and then the Good Lord told her to grow up and be grateful for me. I do make good food and I won't share with someone who is mean. Anyways, when I was in my awkward early teen years, Megan used to be mean and call me a granola. Apparently, I was weird, had no sense of normal clothing and didn't know how to wear makeup. I am not sure if "granola" was the right term. Maybe just painfully uncouth.
This is more of a clusters-type of granola. The oat flour helps hold the clusters together. Clusters are good because they provide for easy snacking.
This recipe provides for a pretty self-designed granola. You add whatever fruits, nuts and seeds you want. For this particular batch, I added sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, almonds, raisins and dried cranberries. But the possibilities are endless. Some ideas:
Nuts you could use:
Pecans, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pine nuts, cashews, Brazil nuts, peanuts, macadamia nuts, pistachios.
Seeds you could use:
Sunflower, pumpkin, flax seeds.
Dried fruit you could use:
Raisins, cranberries, blueberries, raspberries, cherries, strawberries, mangoes, pineapple, apples, bananas, prunes, dates, peaches, apricots.
With the dried fruit, make sure you chop it up if needed.
5 cups quick oats
2 Tbsp ground flax seed
3 cups seeds or chopped nuts
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp mace
1 tsp nutmeg
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup water
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Dried fruit, however much you prefer
Set the oven to 300 degrees.
In the bowl of a food processor or in a blender, add half the oats (2 1/2 cups). Grind, making oat flour. In a large mixing bowl, add the oat flour, quick oats, seeds and nuts, cinnamon, cardamom, mace and nutmeg. Stir well to combine.
In a medium saucepan over high heat, add the brown sugar, butter and water. Stir until the butter is melted and the mixture bubbles. Remove from heat and add the salt and vanilla. Pour brown sugar mixture over the oat mixture and stir to combine. If the mixture seems a little bit dry, you can add a little more water.
On two greased cookie sheets, spread the oat mixture. Using your fingers, make small mounds of the oat mixture all over the cookie sheet. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove cookie sheet from the oven. Using a spatula, break up the mounds into bite-size clusters. Put the sheets back in the oven, but be sure they have switched places (the one that was on the bottom is now on top). Bake for 45 for minutes, stopping every 15 minutes to toss the granola and alternate the cookie sheets.
Once baked, remove from oven and let cool on the cookie sheets. Once cooled, add however much dried fruit you want. Store granola in an air-tight container. Serve over yogurt, sprinkle over muffins before baking, eat with cold milk, stir into oatmeal or just eat it by the handful.
Credit for the gist of this recipe goes to The Traveler's Lunchbox