Thursday, September 30, 2010

Granola: new and improved

Have I finally found the perfect granola recipe?

My first attempt actually stuck around for a while, at least until Tara let me try her Barefoot Contessa granola that was so much more flavorful. But I soon realized that I was the only person eating it, which meant not everybody thought it was scrumptious. And that's a lot of granola for one person.

Now, I already knew that "not everybody," meaning Bryan, wasn't a big fan of coconut. But for some reason, I thought that toasting it as the recipe calls for would mask it. But it turns out he's not a child who you can hide disliked ingredients from, which I figured out after he devoured this coconut-free Maple Granola with Dried Berries from Bon Appetit.

But hey, ya gotta love that Bryan for never complaining about the food I make!

Anyway, to be honest, the Bon Appetit recipe was good but it kinda bored me. So I decided combine it with the Barefoot Contessa recipe (minus the coconut, naturally), and the results are oh so pleasing. The extracts in the Bon Appetit recipe smell fabulous when it's in the oven, and I like that it uses a lot less oil by including water with the liquids. Here's what I came up with:

Mai Ling's Granola II
5 c. rolled oats
1 c. whole raw almonds
1 c. whole raw cashews
2 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 c. canola oil
1/2 c. maple syrup
1/2 c. hot water
1 T. vanilla extract
2 t. almond extract
1/2 t. salt
1 c. diced dried figs
1 c. diced dried apricots
1 c. dried cherries

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix oats, nuts and cinnamon in a 9x13 dish that's deep enough to hold all of the ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix canola oil, maple syrup, hot water, extracts and salt, then slowly stir in with the oat mixture. Mix well, then cook for about an hour, checking and stirring every 10-20 minutes. It's done when it's dry and crunchy, but not burned!

Add dried fruits (you can be real creative with this part), and allow to cool, stirring a couple of times.

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