A few weeks ago, after having dinner with a friend and her mother, I was given a bag of homemade granola. Later that evening, I poured a handful into a cereal bowl with a dash of milk, and I was in granola heaven. Just like homemade bread or a fresh pot of soup, this granola clearly trumped any store bought variety. I ate my bag within a few days, and I began searching and adapting my own granola recipe, a recipe that I will no doubt be making for many years to come.
The recipe below is completely adaptable. Everyone should feel free to add or subtract ingredients in their mix. As long as you have the oats, the applesauce, the sweetener and a dash of oil, the rest is give or take. I had a wonderful time perusing the bulk section at a small natural foods store in Colorado Springs called Mountain Mama's. I grabbed bags of dried cherries, blueberries, mangoes, raisins, almonds, walnuts, coconut, and I could have kept going if my arms weren't already too full. I would highly recommend going to a store that you can buy dried goods in bulk. You will be able to get a lot more for your dollar and the variety is great.
Warning: this recipe is not overly sweet. In fact, if you are used to the store bought variety of granola, you may have to let your taste buds adjust. However, I think this version is far better, not only is their less sugar but the addition of all the nuts and dried fruit adds so many complex flavors. I love eating this with milk or yogurt. It would also be great sprinkled over ice-cream. And then of course, granola will always be perfect for those afternoon hikes or treks through the town.
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup ground flax seed
1/2 cup coconut flakes (unsweetened is preferable)
1/2 cup oat bran
1 TBSP Cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves and nutmeg
3/4 cup + 1 TBSP applesauce
1/2 - 3/4 cup agave nectar or honey (use more if you like your granola sweet)
3 TBSP canola oil
1/2 cup dried fruit (raisins, cherries, blueberries, mangoes...)
1/2 cup chopped nuts ( I used a combination of almonds and walnuts)
1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except nuts. Stir well. Fold in nuts and spread on a lightly greased baking sheet.
2. Bake in a 300 degree oven for one hour, stirring your granola occasionally.
3. Allow to cool and store in an airtight container. Granola will keep for several weeks.