C: One of my favorite recipes, and one of the few that I am “fearless” with (I’m trying, Sally!) is homemade granola. I watched Ina Garten make this on her show “The Barefoot Contessa,” tried it, loved it, and over time have created my own version. Here are the original ingredients: (you can find the recipe here, too)
- 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
- 2 cups sliced almonds
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup good honey
- 1 1/2 cups small diced dried apricots
- 1 cup small diced dried figs
- 1 cup dried cherries
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup roasted, unsalted cashews
I usually eschew the cashews and coconut, use more honey and less oil, and throw in generous helpings of whatever dried fruit and nuts I have in the house. I like to replace the cashews with walnuts, for instance, and I’m crazy for cranberries so I add a lot of those. But you can throw in whatever you want.
I always add:
- a bunch of cinnamon, about two tablespoons but I don’t measure anymore (fearless!)
- some ground ginger, about one tablespoon
- milled flax seeds–two to three tablespoons. You don’t taste it. You can add wheat germ, too, if you’re feeling wild.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the oats, coconut and nuts together in a large bowl. This is when I add the spices and flax, too. Whisk the oil and honey together in a separate bowl, and pour over the oats. Stir until everything is nicely coated. Pour onto a baking sheet lined with tin foil (or two baking sheets, preferably with high sides–it’s more manageable that way). Bake until it’s an even, golden brown, about 40-45 minutes. Ina suggests stirring it occasionally, but I usually toss it around just one time halfway through–this is when the high-sided baking sheets come in handy. I’ve burned my fair share, so keep an eye on it towards the end. Remove it from the oven and give it a good stir so it won’t stick as it cools. Pour into a bowl, add the dried fruit, mix it up nicely, and store in an airtight container. Thank yourself for baking it on tin foil when clean-up is crazy fast. Enjoy with whatever kind of milk you’re currently into, or yogurt. It’s also pretty tasty on vanilla ice cream.
As I was working on this my dog Esther hung out in the kitchen, and I like to think the smells brought back memories for her–I used to make this all the time when she was a puppy. Or I’m anthropomorphizing her again.