Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Honey Granola

And just like that, fall is upon us. Back in Eastern Washington there were barely any trees and thus the beauty of fall only lasts for about two weeks, three at the most. For non-Washington state peeps, there is a part of Washington that does not get any rain… Eastern, WA is a desert.

However, here on the East Coast, I am noticing a very gradual change. One tree today or some clumps of trees the next, and even the leaves on those trees seem to be changing ever so slowly, like they’re resisting the natural order of things. I love their stubbornness!

It has been considerably colder too, even in the middle of the day. So, our air-conditioning has been turned off for two weeks now. We are not turning the heater on yet. It’s too early for that and too expensive. I have been walking around the house with my coat on and when it gets unbearably cold, I turn on the oven and start baking. It’s cheap heat with the plus of body nourishment or sweet tooth satisfaction.

I turned the oven on a week and a half ago to bake up a batch of granola. Yes friends, it is another granola recipe in this blog. I LOVE granola and I hope you do too! Pardon me for holding out on sharing… I didn’t have any good stories to tell and I still don’t, but here is the recipe anyway.

This granola is long gone. The last bit of it was happily consumed last Wednesday, so my memory of how it tasted is pretty vague. I typed the recipe though the very same day I baked this batch because it is worthy of sharing. The first few bits that I scooped into my palm were just meant for checking whether they tasted great or not. And then I found myself going back into the kitchen several times while it was cooling in the pan to eat a few more and then some more. DFJ and I also looked forward to granola breakfasts when we had this around. There’s nothing like some great granola waiting for you to make you pop out of bed!

Granola is great eaten by the handful or with either milk or yogurt. They also make for great work snacks or lunches. Just put however much you want to eat in a container and add on your yogurt of choice (I like plain Greek yogurt), stir it up, and put it in the fridge when you get to work. It’s a delicious and filling cold treat! And in case you haven’t tried doing so yet, granola also adds a nice crunch when sprinkled on top of ice cream.  

Something sweet and crunchy, on the healthy side! 

Honey Granola

3 cups oats
1 cup slivered almonds (raw)
1 cup pumpkin seeds (unsalted, raw)
1 cup chopped walnuts (raw)
¼ cup sugar
¾ teaspoon Kosher salt
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup honey
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup dried figs, cut in eighths (optional, or can be substituted with any dried fruit)

Place an oven rack in the middle position. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

In a large, roasting pan, combine the oats, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts. Use your hands (or a flexible spatula) to mix everything together. Sprinkle on the sugar and salt. Once again, use your hands (or a flexible spatula) to mix everything together.

Pour the olive oil, honey, and vanilla extract in a medium sized bowl. Whisk well together until it forms into a thick slurry.

Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix everything well together using a flexible spatula. Scrape the ingredients on the bottom and sides to make sure everything gets moistened with the oil and honey mix. Spread the mixture evenly in the pan.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove, stir, and bake for another 15 minutes. Do this one more time for a total baking time of 45 minutes. Turn the oven off. Remove pan from the oven, stir in the chopped figs, and place the granola in the still hot oven for another 10 minutes to let it dry a bit more. The granola should be golden brown and nicely toasted. Remove from the oven, give it another stir, and allow to cool completely in the pan for a few hours. Store in an airtight container.

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