I finally found a granola recipe I really like. It's more a ratio than a recipe, really. Beyond the oats, you can use any liquid sweetener you want and any nuts and fruits you want. I got the recipe from Moosewood Restaurants: New Classics, which has a maple-nut granola recipe in it. Maple syrup is pretty expensive. I used it the first time but found that it wasn't really mapley, so I substituted honey, which is cheaper, for the second batch. I didn't regret it at all. I wanted this batch to feature almonds, and since apricots are related, I thought it would be nice to throw some chopped dried apricots in too. Dried cherries and pumpkin seeds went in because I wanted a little more variety. This is delicious with homemade yogurt in the morning. I will definitely be keeping this in stock. It makes a pretty big batch, so I won't have to be making it constantly, and it keeps indefinitely, as far as I can tell. Plus, there are tons of flavor combinations I want to try. The one warning I have about the recipe is that you can't put it in jars to store until it's completely cooled, and it takes a long time to cool (like over an hour). So if you start it at 10 pm, you might end up staying up later than you intended.
Granola (adapted from Moosewood Restaurants: New Classics):
4 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (quick-cooking or instant can be substituted but aren't quite as good)
1/4 cup oat bran (optional-gives a fiber boost)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup maple syrup or honey (or agave nectar or corn syrup, I'd imagine)
2 tbsp molasses (not blackstrap)
2 generous cups nuts, seeds, and dried fruit, chopped to whatever size you want it in granola (dried fruit should be kept separate until after cooking)
1-2 tsp spices, if desired (I like it without, but there is cinnamon in the original recipe, and I'm sure nutmeg or cardamom would suit some people)
Combine oats, oat bran, spices, and nuts in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine oil, honey or syrup, and molasses and stir vigorously to try to get it rather uniform. Pour liquid into the oat mixture and stir to coat. Pour oats into a large greased baking pan (I use a 9x13 Pyrex) and bake at 350 F for about 20 minutes, stirring every five minutes. When it is golden brown, remove from oven and add the dried fruit. Let it cool completely before storing it in airtight containers in the refrigerator. Stirring periodically will help the heat dissipate and keep the granola from sticking to the pan.
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