In the immediate wake of the holidays I was feeling a bit...well I guess whiped out. It happens every year, the excitement, food, family, presents etc. dies down and it's all I can do to drag my butt into work for the first week back to real life. Each year I sludge through that week after the new year like some sort of zombie and hope that enough sleep, relaxation, exercise and normal food will coax my usual self out of hibernation.
This Monday I woke up and decided out of nowhere that I HAD to make granola before work. I am going to go out on a limb and assume that a sudden urge to make granola is a sign that the undeadness that had taken up residence in my body has moved on and made room once again for my usual self. Thank god, because the lethargy was getting old. And the really good news is that the granola is amazing, REALY amazing.
I have a strange relationship with granola. I love it but I have a hard time swallowing the cost, and frankly the sugar/fat content, of commercial granola. So I try to make my own but I have not always had the best luck in the past. It's always just ok and most of it ends up going stale. Inevitably I end up living, yet again, a granolaless life. Boo. I decided that this time I would sort of fly by the seat of my pants and make granola with the things I want in it instead of following a recipie. I consulted Alton Brown to get the general rules for making granola. His recipes generally included 3 cups of oats, and a total of about 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 cup oil, and because he is almost always right about everything I stuck to these proportions (with a bit less sugar) and cooked the granola for 1 hour and 15 minutes as he suggested.
Looks Good right?!?!
You could use just about any add in, nuts, dried fruit. I bet it would be really good with chocolate chips mixed in after everything is cooled. Be creative and make it the way you like, but his is what I ended up coming up with:
Loosely adapted from Alton Brown
- 3 cups Rolled Oats
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/8 cup honey (you could use 1/4 if you like a slightly sweeter granola)
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup slivered almonds
- 1/4 cup pepitas
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup raisins
In a large bowl combine the oats, brown sugar, and cinnamon and nuts.
In a smaller bowl wisk together the oil, honey, salt, and vanilla. Add to the oats mixture and stir to combine. Spread the mixture out evenly on the lined baking sheets and place them in the oven.
Bake the granola for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the oats are golden brown. I stirred my oats and rotated the pans in the oven (and switching racks, moving the one that was on the top rack to the bottom rack and placing the one on the bottom on top) every fifteen minutes to be sure that nothing was burning and that everything was cooking evenly.
Once the granola is cooked, remove it from the oven and allow to cool a bit on the baking sheets. When it has cooled transfer it into a large bowl and add the dried fruit. Stir the mixture until everything is evenly distributed. Store in an airtight container. Enjoy!