My favorite granola

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Now that i have all ya’lls attention, I’mma give you this:

My favorite granola adapted and embellished from a myriad of sources and perfected over time

3 cups rolled oat flakes
1 cup rolled rye flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup wheatgerm
1 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
3/4 cup raw walnuts – chopped to halves or quarters (or sometimes shelled pistachios – no salt)
1 & 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/8 (1/4 + 1/8 for the fractionally challenged) cup walnut oil
1/4 to 1/2 cup honey or maple syrup
3/4 cup dried sour cherries (or sometimes dried cranberries, chopped dried apricots, or raisins).
2 large baking sheets with 1 inch rim

yields: approximately 1 & 1/2 quarts

1. preheat oven to 300 degrees.

2. toss all of the dry ingredients together except for the dried fruit. reserve the fruit for later.

3. mix in vanilla extract, walnut oil & honey or maple syrup. i like my granola with a barely audible stroke of sweetness so 1/4 cup of sweetener is perfect for me. but you could add more, up to 1/2 cup, without it becoming cloyingly sweet. note: if you use the same measuring vessel for the oil and honey, and measure out the oil first, the honey will slide right out of the measuring cup quite nicely.

4. mix well so that the oil, sweetener and vanilla are distributed evenly.

5. distribute mixture equally into the two baking sheets. shake sheets from side to side so that mixture is quite spread out and there are no layers.

6. place in oven, you will most likely use two racks. bake for 30 minutes. halfway though switch the sheets so that the one on bottom rack is now on top and toss both a bit to redistribute.

7. you will know it is done when the color changes slightly – it begins to golden. make sure not to brown too much or the nuts will burn. err on the side of less. depending on your oven the sheets my not toast evenly at the same time, don’t be afraid to leave one or the other in longer.

8. take baking trays out and toss in dried fruit directly while still warm. adding the fruit here is the key to a good texture (don’t you hate when you buy granola and it has stone-hard little bits of dried fruit in it? it’s because they bake the already dried fruit).

9. let cool completely, store in airtight container for up to a month.

if done correctly you have my word that this will

a) not be too sweet
b) not be too oily
c) not have fruit that will break your teeth
d) not have hard bits of granola better suited for bars than breakfast

My favorite way to eat granola is with homemade yogurt. mix it up fresh in the am right in your breakfast bowl.

Here’s another granola-yogurt scenario all together that you gotta try(!): mix a bowl, or a jar, of granola and yogurt at night before you go to bed. let it sit overnight in fridge and the next morning you will have the most wonderfully textured bowl-o’-breakfast as the toasted oats and rye swell up and soften. and when fresh fruit is in season, add some chopped the night before, you won’t believe your taste buds the next morning.

Ok, i do make granola, i did just say wheatgerm up there, i do have dreaded hair, but i do not wear birkenstocks…

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