Cranberry and Almond Granola
Mom and Dad – I know what you’re thinking. We always told her that when she moved to Colorado she’d be “granola”. I think that implies something about being a vegan and dancing around barefoot in a tie dye dress with flowers in my hair and hemp jewelry on every appendage while listening to Bob Marley. To which, my response 7 years later is: yes, I listen to Bob Marley, and I may have at one point worn a hemp bracelet, and yeah, there was that brief stage in my life when I swore off meat and dairy (not recommended). HOWEVER…the fact that I have made homemade granola simply makes me feel accomplished. The thought of making something from scratch that I’d normally buy in a package at the store is a) reassuring – I know exactly what’s going into it and there’s no preservatives or chemicals that I can’t pronounce and b) it’s really cool to take a bite, sit back, and think to myself, I made this and it.is.awesome.
My first attempt at granola was disastrous. I only lay half the blame on myself. It’s honestly the stupid oven’s fault. Apparently 350 degrees is too hot to bake granola (but not according to Martha or Ina, just according to Megan’s oven.) I was heartbroken. The Susie Homemaker in me was so excited to wake up on Saturday morning and bake this beautiful homemade cereal from scratch, and then all those happy thoughts went down the toilet when I could smell burnt coconut (gross!).
On the following day – a snowy/rainy/gross wintry mix of a Sunday – my granola debacle was over. It turns out, that mixing oats and honey with a spoon doesn’t evenly distribute the goo (DUH, Megan). Using your hands, although sticky, gets the job done. To account for the fact that my oven gets hotter than Hades, I reduced the temp to 250. I know 100 degrees difference sounds drastic, but when you’ve filled your house with the smell of burning oats once you really don’t want to do it again. Not to mention the fact that the Granola Disaster of 2011 resulted in me throwing a temper tantrum in the middle of my kitchen and I really didn’t need to show that side of myself again (not that the cat cares).
Here’s the recipe that worked..
Cranberry and Almond Granola
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon sugar
1 cup dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, honey, brown sugar and cinnamon sugar. The mixture will be thick.
3. Lay oat mixture on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Drizzle honey mixture over the oats and mix well with hands.
4. Bake for about 45 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasional with a spatula.
5. When granola is golden, take from oven and allow to cool. Mix in cranberries.
Granola can be stored in an air tight container until it is devoured.
Also, this recipe is incredibly flexible. Any dried fruit works, any nut works, and you can certainly eliminate the coconut if you hate it.