Guest Author - Caitlin McLeod
Are you daunted by the thought of making your own granola? Itís actually quite easy, and only takes about an hour to whip up a big batch. This quantity will last a good long time, so that you wonít have to be making it every day (unless youíre serving a crowd). Donít be put off by the list of ingredients; itís mostly just mixing and baking, with very little chopping involved. This is one of the best granolas Iíve ever eaten, especially when itís made with maple syrup.
Note: For a gluten-free version, be sure to use certified gluten-free rolled oats and oat bran and omit the wheat bran. You can also add quinoa flakes, if desired.
Momís Granola Makes 18 cups or more
6 cups rolled oats
2-Ĺ cups raw sunflower seeds
1 cup sesame seeds
2 cups wheat bran
1 cup oat bran
1 cup walnuts
2 cups chopped almonds
2 cups chopped pecans
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I use either light olive or coconut oil)
1 and 1/2 cups maple syrup or honey
4 or more cups dried fruit, such as raisins, currants, cut-up apricots, dates, prunes, papaya chunks, or blueberries
1-3 tsp. (or more) cinnamon or other spices to taste (optional)
1) In a large bowl, mix nuts and grains. Mix in oil and syrup (or honey). Toss well to coat the dry ingredients, using two wooden spoons.
2) Put the mixture into two 11 X 17" glass or metal baking pans, or you can use a couple of cookie sheets. Using a wooden spoon, spread the mixture out in a single layer. If you have a smaller oven, of course youíll need smaller pans.
3) Bake for 15 minutes at 350ļ F. Stir the granola in from the edges and reduce heat to 325ļ F. Bake 30 minutes more, stirring every 10 minutes. Be careful not to let the granola burn. Remove the pans from the oven.
4) Dump the granola back into the bowl, and add at least 4 cups of your favorite dried fruit, along with any spices you are using.
5) Cool the granola, and store it in air tight jars or bags. The granola will keep several weeks in glass jars, or longer if you freeze it.
Serve topped with your favorite cereal beverage or yogurt. You can add some fresh fruit, too, if desired. Granola is easier to digest if you soak it first so that itís relatively soft. Granola is also a great topping for ice cream or other frozen desserts.