We’re extremely blessed to have a full refrigerator of leftover dinner from New Year’s Day, and I don’t want to bake or cook another dish for the next few days. As I wondering what to contribute this week that won’t add another dish to the refrigerator or extra pounds to our waistlines, I notice we’re quickly going through the granola cereal. A good quality granola cereal with less processed ingredients isn’t cheap.
They’re only a couple of brands of granola we buy, because most of them are too sweet. This recipe is easy to switch out ingredients for making your own unique recipe. Start with changing the ratio of dried fruit and nuts if either is more preferred. Experiment with various nuts and dried fruit. Try using flavorful oils, sea salts and spices. Molasses is a beautiful dark and rich sweetener for this granola mix, but honey, dark amber maple, rice syrup and other natural sweeteners are good alternatives. If a sweeter granola is preferred, try tossing a little brown sugar with the dry ingredients. The idea for adding fruit preserves or puree to granola was inspired by David Lebovitz’s food blog. The fruit puree adds a fruity and jammy taste.
Making your personal granola is a beautiful start to a healthy New Year. Personally, I look for the thickest unsweetened and plain Greek yogurt brand, and flavor it with a touch of molasses and vanilla to pair with this homemade granola. Of course, this makes a delicious topping for ice cream, too. Like most homemade recipes, you’re not going to buy another store brand after making your own version of granola. This is too simple and incredibly delicious recipe to ignore.
- 2-1/2 cups rolled/old fashion oats (try using multi-grain oats, for they’re a healthier substitute)
- 1/2 cup hazelnuts; roughly chopped (or any nut)
- 1/2 cup walnuts; roughly chopped (or any nut)
- 1 to 2 tsp. cinnamon (try experimenting with cardamon and other spices)
- 1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp. ground clove
- 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
- 1 tsp. sea salt; more or less depending on personal taste (try experimenting with flavor sea salts)
- 1/4 to 1/2-cup molasses; more or less depending on personal taste for sweetness (alternatively use honey, maple or rice syrup)
- 2 to 4 tbsp. olive or walnut oil (try experimenting with flavorful oils, such as nut, herbs, orange, pomegranate and so forth)
- 1 tsp. vanilla or almond extract
- 1/4 to 1/2-cup puree raspberries or unsweetened raspberry preserves; more or less (other fruit flavors will work)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- 3/4 cup dried cherries (or any dried fruit)
- 3/4 cup dried blueberries (or any dried fruit)
- Preheat oven to 300° F.
- Toss all the dry ingredients -- except the dried cherries and blueberries -- together. Set aside.
- Place molasses, olive or walnut oil, vanilla and raspberries in a small saucepan. Heat to warm, but do not boil.
- Mix the molasses-raspberry mix into the dry ingredients. If ingredients seem too dry, add a little more oil or fruit preserves.
- Spread granola mix over the baking sheet.
- Bake for 45 minutes and stir every 10 minutes until granola is gold brown.
- Meanwhile, toast coconut flakes in a warm skillet over medium heat. Stir frequently and carefully watch the flakes, for they burn fast.
- After the granola is finished, toss in the coconut flakes, dried cherries and blueberries.
- Place in a container and seal tight.
- Use as needed and enjoy.
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