Granola is one of my favorite breakfast foods- a nice mix of crunchy oats, nuts and dried fruit covered in honey, brown sugar, and cinnamon. The permutations are endless- classic walnut, almond raisin, orange zest-chocolate or flax seed, sunflower seed dried cranberry. In my opinion, granola is much healthier than processed breakfast cereal with high fructose corn syrup, even if you add copious amounts of chocolate chips. Okay, well maybe the nutritional specs take a hit when chocolate is added. But I still would rather start my day with chocolate granola than with Honey Bunches of Oats. Granola-making also happens to be my work-shift. After the candy granola incident of last week, I decided to make a more healthy breakfast version. Here’s the recipe; I tripled it and then divided into two trays- a hippie version and what i call “deconstructed cookie granola”.
8 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup oil (canola or safflower or similar)
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
2 tsp vanilla
3 Tbsp cinnamon ( though more couldn’t hurt)
1 to 2 cups sunflower seeds, shelled
1 1/2ish cups chocolate chips
1 to 2 cups assorted nuts
1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
3/4 cup ground flax seed
Heat oven to 375 F. Spread the oats on a cookie tray (one with edges so the granola doesn’t fall off) and sprinkle in cinnamon, coconut, flax seed, sunflower seeds and nuts of choice. On the stovetop combine oil, brown sugar and the honey and heat on high. Cook until the mixture is foamy and bubbly and then add the vanilla, let it get foamy again. Warning: this will smell delightful, your housemates will probably come in the kitchen to investigate the yummy smell. Pour the hot mixture onto the oats and mix all ingredients to be evenly coated and distributed. Note: if crunchy flax clusters are desired make sure to pour some of the mixture directly onto pockets of the flax seed meal. Put in the oven and check every 10-15 minutes to stir. Take the tray out when the oats are looking golden brown and toasted. If you are making cookie granola, sprinkle chocolate chips on the hot granola and then mix to make heavenly clumps of chocolate granola. If you want your granola to make some serious clumps, perhaps increase the honey by another 1/3 of a cup and let the granola cool in the pan without stirring after it is removed from the oven.
Enjoy with milk or yogurt or by itself!