August 20, 2012

Doubly Virtuous...

It's that time of year again.  Shopping for school clothes,  temper tantrums over getting up early once more, begging and pleading "please don't make me go", etc...  and that is just the teachers.

Granola is hardly a revolutionary breakfast, but it is a great way to start your day & when turned into bars it's a hand-held portable breakfast which can come in very handy when you've hit "snooze" one too many times.

Now, before you roll your eyes at the mere mention of granola, let me preface it by saying you do not have to be a Birkenstock wearing, tree hugging, peace-lovin' hippie clad in tie dye to appreciate it. 
(Just because I happen to be a few of those things has nothing to do with it...)

It's that perfect mixture of oats/almonds/coconut toasting in the oven & the scent of it lingering in the kitchen that really gets me excited for what's about to happen.  Then, it becomes a bit of a treasure hunt.  I've stated before how I buy things, put them away and then stumble upon them when I'm looking for something else...  well, this is where that comes in handy.

Most of us have some sort of dried fruit tucked away in a pantry and in the baking cabinet there are always lovely additions lurking in there somewhere.   I happened to have some of these ingredients already on hand so I threw them into the mix and others I actually had to go out for. (the OATS!)

The list of ingredients is a suggestion.  I used a ton of dried fruit because I had it.    The recipe is very flexible, you can add in or take out whatever you like.  If you have kids,  get them involved with making this.  They are more likely to eat something if they've had a hand in it...  literally.   They can help measure the ingredients, mix the granola, etc.

Making your own granola ensures that it has exactly what you want in it and a fraction of the sugar that the store-bought variety contains.  Sprinkled over a bowl of Greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey on top,  it is breakfast perfection.

  • 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (can be made GF, make sure the label says gluten-free)
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, small dice
  • 1/2 cup dried figs, small dice
  • 1/2 cup pitted dates, small dice
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup green pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine oats, almonds, coconut and salt in a large bowl.   Add oil, then honey to a 1 cup measure and pour over mixture.  Oil will prevent honey from sticking and it will all pour out easily.   Stir to evenly coat oat mixture.

Bake, stirring once, for approximately 25 - 30 minutes until mixture is golden brown.

Remove from oven and allow to cool, stir occasionally or it will become a solid mass.
(I learned this the hard way the first time I made granola, so I'll save you the heartache)

Once mixture is cooled, combine all ingredients in a large bowl, stir to thoroughly combine and store in an airtight container.

Granola Bars

  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter + extra for baking dish
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 6 cups granola
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Coat bottom of an 8x8 glass baking dish with non-stick spray and line with parchment paper.  Butter parchment paper inside baking dish & set aside.

Melt butter, mix in honey and brown sugar. 
In a large bowl, combine granola & melted butter mixture.  Stir to combine.

Pour mixture into prepared pan & with wet fingers press down firmly on granola.

Bake for 20 - 30 minutes, cool completely and let set for 3 hours before cutting into squares.  I usually let mine set up overnight before I cut them, but if you can't wait make sure they are completely cooled before cutting them or they will fall apart.

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