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Cinnamon Vanilla Granola

I complain about the heat all summer long. It’s just what I do. Normally I’d be whining about how it is 95 out, but it is hotter in other parts of the country so I’ll just keep my pretty little mouth shut. And being the perfectly reasonable person that I am, I still turn my oven on during the hottest time of the day to make yummies that bake for over an hour, like granola. I mean, 250F isn’t that hot for an oven, so what’s the big deal?

 

I know it would be better for my electric bill to scale back on the oven use over the hot summer months, but I still need my treats. And granola is a staple in this house, usually with dried fruit. We are never without it. I sprinkle it on my yogurt. My hubby takes it to work everyday for a snack. We eat it as cereal. We take it with us whenever we travel. So, you see, I can’t just stop making granola because it is hot outside. I could stop whining, but what fun would that be?

Put into jars for easy little homemade gifts! 

One year ago: Best Ever Banana Bread

Cinnamon Vanilla Granola

Inspired from Alton Brown

Yield: About 6 to 8 cups depending on the nuts you use

Difficulty: Really Easy

Time: 10 minutes to prep; 1 hour 15 minutes to bake

Ingredients

  • 3 cups old fashioned rolled oats (not quick cooking)
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped nuts (I usually use a combination of almonds and walnuts, but anything goes here)
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1 TB cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey, maple syrup, or a combination
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
  • Dried fruit, optional. (I prefer cranberries or cherries)

Notes: I’ve made this recipe so many different ways over the years. It is very flexible and you can add or delete things to make it yours. You can adjust the sugar to suit your needs: more will obviously make it sweeter but will also cause it to clump together more, kind of like bars. Less will make it looser, which isn’t bad either, but I’ve found it is harder to snack on that way. Olive oil may seem strange but it is a better fat than canola oil and I think the taste is better. Flaxseed is optional, but a great way to add some heart goodness to your food without knowing it is there! If you omit it, I’d add another 1/2 cup of nuts or oats. It is pretty sweet by itself but is a wonderful compliment to tangy greek yogurt.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 250F. Prepare one or two sheet pans. One if you want your granola to clump together a bit more (this is what I do) or two if you want it to be looser and roast a bit more.

2. In a large bowl combine the oats, nuts, flaxseed, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Toss together to combine well.

3. In a small bowl combine the oil, honey or maple syrup, vanilla, and pinch of salt. Whisk together.  Pour over the oat mixture and stir until well combined.

4. Spread onto sheet pan. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Your house will smell intoxicating. No need for candles today!

5. Let cool in the sheet pan. If you want really big clumps, don’t touch it till it is cool. It will then break nicely into large pieces (if you used just one pan). If you want it to be more cereal like, let it cool for just a minute then take a spatula and start stirring it up. You can add dried fruit at this point, but I usually don’t add the fruit until right before serving. I may use fresh fruit, especially this time of year, or dried fruit.

What’s your favorite granola? I  need some ideas to mix it up a bit!

Enjoy!

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