I love hearty, wheaty, healthy, yummy baked goods. My husband teases me about some of the muffins that I love most which he calls the “Dirt and Stick Muffins". “Not true!” I retort! “They are hearty and moist and amazing”. Another one of my favorite things is Homemade Granola. I love the way the house smells when it is baking, I love the process of it and I love the result- jellyroll pans full of oaty nutty goodness to eat and share.
They sell homemade granola at some local cafes and it has a high price tag! So, I see this as the perfect homemade/gourmet/special treat to share with others. I made a few batches this weekend to give to my kids’ teachers at church, because next week is “promotion Sunday”, the week they move up to their new classes. I made it and bagged it up and handed them each a sack of Granola Love and Gratitude for the significant investment they have made in my kids' lives.
My mom got this recipe from her longtime friend, Charlotte, and we have been making it ever since. It is fun because you can tweak it as you like. I have added coconut and wheat germ before baking and have used different dried fruits. In the summer when the fresh fruit is so great, I sometimes omit the fruit, so we can put fresh berries with it when we pile it on top of our yogurt. A breakfast of champions.
4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 ½ cups sliced almonds
½ cup packed light brown sugar
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ cup cooking oil
¼ cup honey
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups dried fruit (dried cranberries and/or raisins)
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a bowl, mix the oats, almonds, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon. In a saucepan warm the oil and honey. Whisk or stir in vanilla. Carefully pour liquid over oat mixture. Stir gently with a wooden spoon; finish mixing by hand. (this is the fun part)
Spread granola in a 15 x 10 x 1 inch baking pan. Bake 40 minutes or until toasted, stirring carefully every 10 minutes. Transfer granola-filled pan to rack; cool completely. Stir in dried fruit. Seal in airtight container or freezer plastic bags. Store at room temp for 1 week or in freezer for 3 months.
I usually double the recipe while I’m at it and have a bunch to freeze for later or give away.