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February 10, 2010

Nutty Cranberry Granola

breakfast

Every time I make granola I think "Why did I ever buy this at the store?"   It's insanely simple to make at home and it is amazingly rewarding. I have to mention the smell that fills your house. Oh wow!! Casey asked me if I was making cinnamon rolls (which I wasn't...but I will soon!).  It's ridiculously addictive to eat and totally therapeutic to make. I find so much comfort in the process of making granola.  It's something I enjoy doing at night when the house is nice and quiet.

granola with soymilk

While flipping through the Baked: New Frontiers in Baking cookbook, I found a seductive granola recipe. In the description of the recipe, they declare that "It will make you fall in love with granola all over again." Who doesn't want that?  And yes, it will!

I didn't have all of the ingredients, but was curious about a honey brown sugar oil base for the granola.  The past few times I've made granola, I've used an olive oil & maple syrup base (which is super awesome btw).  I think it's good to get a different take on things, so I went for it.  The results were pretty incredible and I have a tough time deciding which of the two I like more.

What I love about this combo is the balance of the toasted nuts and the sharp tangy sweetness of the cranberries mixed in with the crispy cinnamon oats.  I sat there just ooohing and ahhhing over the beauty that is a toasted walnut.  The oven transforms a walnut into a completely different beast. There's really nothing better.

almonds

When I was planning my food shot for this granola, I had visions of filling up a bowl of greek yogurt and loading it with the granola and honey. A shot of a parfait crossed my mind too.  The reality is that for the past two days I've just scooped some in a bowl and doused it with Vanilla Soy milk.  It doesn't need much.  Nothing to compete with the awesome flavor. You'll see!  It's the  kind of granola that will make you happy just eating it by the handful.  To me that is heaven.

Nutty Cranberry Granola

(recipe adapted from the Baked:New Frontiers in Baking cookbook)

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup whole almonds
  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, toss the oats with the cinnamon and salt.

In a medium bowl, stir together the oil, honey brown sugar and vanilla.  Whisk until completely combined.

Pour the honey mixture over the oats mixture and use your hands to combine them. Gather up some of the mixture in each hand and make a fist. Repeat until all of the oats are coated with the honey mixture.

Pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Spread it out evenly, but leave a few clumps here and there for texture.

Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and lift and flip the granola with a metal spatula. Sprinkle the almonds over the granola and return the baking sheet to the oven.

Bake for 5 minutes, then remove from the oven and use the metal spatula to lift and flip the granola again. Sprinkle the walnuts over the granola and return to the oven.

Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven.  Let cool completely. Sprinkle the raisins and cranberries over the granola and transfer it to a airtight container. The granola will keep for 1 week.  But do you really think you'll have any left by then?  NO.

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