Wednesday, June 20, 2012


I grew up on TJs ginger-almond granola (which I thought was pretty tasty at the time, granted), but was converted by a fellow from Eugene's The Lorax, who was visiting Berkeley and Lothlorien for a few days.  I have never eaten so much granola in my life as that week.

It took me a while to attempt it myself, but now that I have, there is No Going Back.  Fortunately (as the internet and most likely you have already realized), it's really pretty easy and tastes about a thousand times better than much of the stuff on the market.

Technically, the word I wrote down at the top of this recipe is "granaloa," which says something about the hour and/or mindset I was in at the time of recording.  I found it on the internet somewhere I am unable to recall (apologies to the since-forgotten blogger), and have adapted it as I like.  Have fun!

Adapted from somewhere on The Internet

Makes 8-9 cups.

3 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup coconut flakes (I use Bob's Red Mill unsweetened large flakes)
1 Tbl flax seeds
1 Tbl sesame seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
2/3 cup toasted mixed nuts, chopped (favorites include pecans, walnuts, and peanuts.  If you use salted peanuts, cut down on the added salt, or skip entirely!)
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
2 Tbl honey
1 Tbl maple syrup
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups mixed dried fruit (favorites include cranberries, apricots, peaches, golden raisins, cherries, blueberries...)

Notes before you begin mixing:
First, I do not recommend halving this recipe.  Because it bakes at a higher temperature than most granolas, halving the recipe means you get much less leeway between the "delicious-and-golden" stage and the "charcoal" stage.  But since this stuff (tightly sealed in a glass jar) keeps for several months, I don't think you'll have too much of a problem with extra granola.

Second, granola is meant to be customized.  I've put in what I like, but if you want to skip flax seeds, or add chia seeds, or put in chocolate chips, go for it.  Though for the latter, I'd wait until after the granola has cooled.

Third, I know that sounds like a lot of canola oil.  Granola is supposed to have a lot of oil.  That is what makes it crunchy and clumpy.  It you cut it down, it'll probably taste fine, but the texture won't be as nice.  There is some notion of diminishing returns, however: if you add too much, you will get something like oat chips mixed with nuts.  (It didn't taste bad, it was just a little, uh, crisp.)

Fourth, you can probably swap out sweeteners as you like, but if you use molasses or other dark syrup, be warned that it is more difficult to tell when it is done (since it already looks brown).

Last, I recommend not adding the fruit until you are ready to eat.  It's tempting to have it all ready to go, but the fruit adds some moisture (even though it says "dried") which makes the granola less crisp, and keep less well.

Preheat the oven to 375F, and line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Add the dry ingredients to a large bowl and mix.  Add everything else, except the dried fruit, and mix thoroughly.  (You can just mix everything, but I find it easier to distribute things evenly if I do it this way.)  Spread the mixture evenly on the baking sheet.  Bake 20-30 minutes, stirring every 5-10 minutes.  When it is done, the granola should be a dark golden brown, and smell heavenly.  Burning the granola is not unheard of, so I recommend checking it frequently as you approach the end of cooking.

Remove the sheet from the oven, and cool the granola in the pan on a rack.  (If you are worried that you overcooked your granola, you can remove it (still in the aluminum foil) and cool it on a rack that way.)  When cool, mix it up a bit with a spoon or your hands, and transfer to jars.  Seal the jars tightly, and store in a cool, dry place.  Add dried fruit when you are ready to eat.

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