making granola for a trip, and this is what we came up with — a sweet, nutty combination full of thick oats and lots of seeds, too... Granola is a tough thing to pin down with a recipe, which is a good thing. You can throw whatever you want in there. The key is to have enough fat (oil or butter) and sugar (maple syrup, honey, fruit juice, or brown sugar) to coat the mixture so that it all gets sweet and toasty in the oven. In this recipe, we used a combination of oil and butter, plus brown sugar. Our sugar content was a bit low, since we were adding so much fruit, but you can adjust to your taste. We've heard that fruit juice can help granola clump up more, but honestly, we've never had big, knobby clusters in our homemade granola. And that's just fine. We'll leave those to the store-bought kind. You can use any combination of dried fruit here (heck, dry your own!). And, since it's Ice Cream Month, may we recommend throwing some granola on top of those scoops?
Granola with Almonds, Apricots, Cranberries, and Pineapple makes about 10 cups 1/4 cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick) 1/4 cup vegetable oil 1/3 cup brown sugar 4 cups rolled oats 2 cups slivered almonds 3/4 cup sunflower seeds 3/4 cup pumpkin seeds 1 teaspoon cinnamon 2 cups combined dried cranberries, dried apricots (chopped), and dried pineapple (chopped) salt (optional) Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine butter, oil, and brown sugar in a small saucepan and cook over low heat, whisking until butter is melted and sugar is combined. Combine oats, almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Pour butter and sugar mixture over the top of the oat mixture and stir until everything is well coated. Add a dash of salt, if desired. (If either of your seeds are salted, you don't need additional salt.) Spread the mixture onto a large, rimmed baking sheet (or two, if it's overflowing). Bake for about 1 hour, gently stirring and turning every 15 or 20 minutes, until granola is golden brown and toasted. Transfer granola to a large bowl and, while it is still warm, stir in dried fruit. Store in an airtight container. Will keep for a few weeks. Related: Good Question: What's the Deal with Oatmeal? (Images: Elizabeth Passarella)