Friday, May 29, 2009

Cherry Berry Granola

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When I had a craving for some homemade granola but no handy recipes, my faithful foodie Twitter pals came to my rescue, showering me with wonderful suggestions and helpful links. Each recipe looked better than the previous one, and I was unable to choose one single version to try. So I printed out a handful, lined them up on my countertop, and chose the best elements from each one, adding a few of my own favorite touches here and there, to create a whole new recipe.

I love to combine honey and brown sugar, so both of those went in. I also like the way turbinado sugar adds a bit of crunch, so I threw some of that in there too. I used small proportions of each of these sweeteners, so the end result is not all that sweet. Crunchy almonds are great for providing body and substance, but they can actually be pretty subtle in flavor ~ a small boost from a tiny bit of almond extract brings them to the forefront.

Spill

I added sesame seeds for another layer of flavor, and a bit of vegetable oil to make the mix a bit more supple. You can omit it, but the oat mixture seemed a little dry to me without some oil, since it uses only 1/4 cup of honey as a liquid agent. The end result isn’t oily at all, so I was very pleased with the outcome.

The beauty of granola is that you can add (or omit) whatever you want, or whatever you happen to have on hand. Customize your mix to suit your moods, the seasons, your kids’ picky palates, whatever. Enjoy!

Cherry Berry Granola

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, nuts, brown sugar, honey, oil, sesame seeds, turbinado sugar, almond extract, cinnamon, and salt. Toss to coat all ingredients.
  2. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Grease a large rimmed baking sheet with the tablespoon of butter. Pour oat mixture out onto baking sheet and use a spatula to smooth it down, covering the entire sheet. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes at 250 degrees F, stirring the oat mixture every 15 minutes. The mixture will turn golden brown and dry out as it bakes. It will firm up as it cools.
  3. Leave on baking sheet until completely cool, then pour into a large container with a tightly fitting lid. Add cherries and cranberries and stir to combine. Will keep for at least a week at room temperature ~ if it lasts that long.

Recipe Notes:

  • You want a nice slow oven for this ~ gradually, the liquid in the honey will dry out, the sugars will melt, and the oil will be absorbed, binding the ingredients into delicious sweet, nutty nuggets.
  • You can add whatever dried fruit you like to this. Try raisins, chopped dried apricots, apple or banana chips, dried raspberries or blueberries ~ whatever your heart (and palate) desires. Just be sure to add your fruit in after baking, once your mix has cooled. Otherwise, it will become leathery and tough.
  • Got a sweet tooth? Add in M&M’S, chocolate chips, peanut butter or butterscotch baking chips, chocolate-covered peanuts, chocolate- or yogurt-covered raisins.
  • Want to sneak in some more protein? Try adding sunflower seeds, chopped hazelnuts, pignoli nuts, chopped pecans, wheat germ, soy nuts, or roasted peanuts.

13 comments:

  1. Love it! Your version looks wonderful. I will have to try it!

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  2. I've been threatening my husband that I'll make granola, and this sounds like the perfect place to begin. What a perfect combo of munch and crunch. Now, how to prevent him from eating more than one serving!

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  3. Oh that looks so good. I love granola with lots of stuff in it. An adventure for my mouth. :-)

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  4. ~Maria: Thanks! And let us know if you add your special touches . . . I'm always looking for new flavor twists!

    ~Thank you! It's pretty munchy and crunchy. My teenage son, nonstop eater that he is, consumed an entire quart of yogurt in 2 days just as an excuse to eat this granola on it. (My suspicion.)

    ~Andrea: I love the way you put that! :D

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  5. YUM. I love making my own granola. This recipe looks wonderful. I'll have to try it.

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  6. I love dried cherries! Have you tried the Montgomery dried cherries from Trader Joes? Swoon!

    The addition of almond extract sounds great!

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  7. Looks like a really crunchy, yummy snack...and healthy too! Thanks for sharing.

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  8. Sandy-

    This looks delicious!!!

    -Jamie

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  9. Sounds tasty! I love how versatile the recipe is.

    - Sagan

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  10. I'm with Kelly on this one. If it hadn't been for her stumbling this recipe, I wouldn't have found you. And I'm so glad to have found you. :D

    You have great taste!

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  11. Homemade granola is one of my favorite things; you can put whatever you want inside. Yours looks great--well done!

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  12. I am happy I found this post because the co-op has stopped carrying what I have nicknamed crack granola. Been hunting and searching for a good granola replacement or at least a base I can use.

    Nicely done!

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  13. Oh yum! I'll be trying this soon!!!

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