Friday, September 16, 2011

Peace, Love, & Granola

So I have to admit, when I first made granola I felt a little “hippie dippy.” My sex-ed teacher in high school, who was a product of the 60’s, used to use the phrase, “peace, love, and granola baby!” My friend Sarah and I used to get a kick out of her wacky hippie lingo and adopted the phrase ourselves. But maybe there is something to that phrase. After all, what’s more comforting, loving, and peaceful than a bowl full of granola?

Unfortunately, in order to get your hands on the good stuff, you usually have to empty your wallet, especially if you eat it as often as I do. So I had to ask myself, is it really worth it? No way! That’s why I decided to make my own, and I’ve never even thought of going back to the store bought stuff since.

I developed this recipe, tinkered with it over time, and have reached what I think is the quintessential granola. I make this about once a week so Aaron and I can have a quick bite before work. It’s simple and delicious and takes very little time to prepare. Make it on Sunday night and you’ll have it the rest of the week, or double it and keep in the fridge.


4 cups old fashioned rolled oats
¼ cup toasted wheat germ
2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
2 cups nuts
1½ cups dried fruit (optional)
½ cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup honey
2 tbsp. brown sugar
¾ tsp. sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Add the dry ingredients (excluding the dried fruit) to a large bowl. In a small measuring cup, using a fork, whisk together the honey, sugar, salt and oil. Using a large spatula, toss the honey mixture with the dry ingredients until well coated. 

Pour out mixture onto a 13x18 inch parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, tossing the granola every 10 minutes with your spatula, until the mixture turns a nice even golden brown. 

Remove granola from oven and stir in the dried fruit. Let the granola cool completely on the baking sheet before breaking it up and transferring to quart containers.   

Yields: 2½ quarts

The granola keeps well at room temperature for up to 7 days, and 1 month in the refrigerator. 

For the nut mixture I use 1 cup slivered almonds, ½ cup chopped walnuts, and ½ cup chopped pecans. Or use whatever you have on hand.

I generally leave out the dried fruit because I like to use the granola as a base and add whatever I feel like from day to day. It’s great with yogurt, fresh fruit, smoothies, trail mix- you name it! 

Wheat germ is the embryo of the wheat seed. I added it to my granola because it has a nutty quality and is a wonderful source of essential nutrients and fiber. You can buy it in the bulk section at Whole Foods or most specialty food stores. It goes rancid easily, so remember to store it in the refrigerator or freezer. If you can’t find it, leave it out.

When mixing together the oil, honey, sugar, and salt, don’t worry if the mixture is lumpy and separates a bit.  When tossed with your oats, nuts and coconut, it will distribute evenly, and the lumps will create delicious clusters of crunchy granola.

If you’re doubling the recipe it will take almost twice as long to bake on two sheet pans.  Halfway through baking, reverse the pans from the top and bottom racks to ensure even baking. 

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