I never used to think of myself as a breakfast person...or a morning person, for that matter. Kids change things, though, don't they? Nowadays, I wake up, grizzly mama bear style, stumbling sleepy-eyed to the kitchen, following my growling stomach to food. (And coffee.)
With the kiddos in school, breakfast generally needs to be a quick affair, squeezed in before the rush-rush-rush that is the morning routine. And who wants to eat a boxed cereal every morning? Not this mama bear, that's for sure.
So, without further ado, here's my recipe for granola. I found inspiration in several recipes along the way, and tweaked it and tried a new this or that, until I came up with this version. Which is mighty tasty, if I do say so myself. It takes only 5 minutes to prep, then a slow bake in the oven, and once it's cooled, there you go. (Bob's your uncle.)
Hope you enjoy!
Mama Nécole's Granola (to fight off the grizzlies)
3 cups rolled oats
2/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 cups whole, raw, unsalted nuts (I usually use cashews, almonds, and sunflower seeds, but experiment with what suits your fancy)
pinch of salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/3 tsp ground allspice (or ground cardamom is tasty too)
1/3 cup juice (whatever you have in the fridge is fine: cranberry, orange, apple...)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 300 deg F.
In a large bowl, thoroughly mix the dry ingredients together. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients, then pour over the dry, and stir well to combine.
Spread in an even layer on a rimmed cookie sheet. I like to have big chunks of granola at the end, so I pack mine down gently with the back of the spoon. Bake for 25 minutes, then gently stir the granola around the pan, bringing the crisper edges to the middle, so it cooks evenly. If you prefer to keep the nice, big clumps, don't overmix at this point. Bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, until golden, then allow to cool completely. (The granola crisps up as it cools.) Once cool, store in an airtight container. Will keep for several weeks.
Serve it up over yogurt, and add in whatever fresh or dried fruit you have around, depending on the season. Peaches are the happening choice right now. Dates are also scrumptious.