Yes, another $@&#! granola. Hey, I’ve been making mine for nearly 15 years, thank you very much, so I’m not exactly a newcomer. That was back when “crunchy granola” and men with big bushy beards actually meant “hippie”…and not the other “H” word, back when Williamsburg was a place your parents dragged you to for a lesson in American history and not a place you went to to pay $15 for an 8-ounce bag of artisan-made muesli. And like my hippie predecessors, I am a radical…for delicious granola (among other things–just don’t ask me about the Grateful Dead…total blind spot)
It was something I made twice a month and ate everyday for breakfast for nearly 15 years. My morning would play out thusly: I’d get up at 5:00AM, have a cup of coffee and a moment of quiet reflection, then head out the door for an 8-mile run, come home, shower, make lunch for the kids and head to work by 9:00. Nowhere in that run-down did you see breakfast. That’s because breakfast was my desk-side, email-reading reward for making it through my commute without having a Network-style meltdown on my way to the office.
The fruit changed with the season and the yogurt with what ever i had on hand, but for the most part, the granola remained pretty much the same: oats, nuts, seeds, sweet syrup, brown sugar, oil and dried fruit. Nuts can be raw walnuts, pecans or almonds (salted or smoked almonds added at the end are my favorite), ; seeds can be flax, sesame, chia or sunflower; sweet syrup can be maple, honey, rice bran, or agave; and dried fruit can be cranberries, raisins, diced mangos, apricots, dates or figs. Cinnamon is nice, but not crucial. Try it and hug a tree–I’ll be right next to you!
ALMOND-MAPLE GRANOLA WITH CRANBERRIES
Makes about about 5 cups
1/3 cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons canola oil
3 tablespoons (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
3 cups old fashioned rolled oats (preferably thick-cut)
1 cup raw slivered almonds
1/4 cup golden flax seed meal (or seeds ground in a coffee grinder)
1 cup dried cranberries
Preheat the oven to 300° and butter a large rimmed baking sheet. In a large microwave safe bowl, combine the maple syrup, oil and brown sugar and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Add the cinnamon and salt and whisk until smooth. Add the oats, almonds and flax seed and stir until completely moistened. Spread out on the baking sheet and bake in the center of the oven, stirring occasionally, until golden, toasted and fragrant, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool completely, then add the cranberries. Store the granola in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.