Monday, September 8, 2008

Maple Granola

Another great recipe success from the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking book. This granola is so great! Chris made a second batch today. We gobbled up the first batch like it was going out of style. As a cereal nut this is a keeper.

The biggest time sink is prep of all the ingredients, but once you are past that it is a breeze. I think it is well worth the effort - Yum!

Maple Granola
You can also get the same recipe at this link.

7 cups (1 1/2 pounds) rolled oats, uncooked
1 cup (4 ounces) flaked unsweetened coconut (optional, but good)
1 cup (4 ounces) stabilized wheat germ
1 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sliced almonds
1 cup (4 ounces) diced pecans or walnuts
1 cup sunflower seeds, raw or toasted
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (11 ounces) pure maple syrup*
1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) vanilla extract
5 cups (about 20 ounces) mixed dried fruit** (raisins, cranberries, cherries, diced pineapple, diced apricots, chopped dates, or the mixture of your choice)

*Pure maple syrup (as opposed to maple-flavored cane sugar syrup) makes a MUCH tastier granola. If you use "fake" syrup, be advised you’ll have to use a lot more to get the same degree of sweetness; probably an additional 1/2 cup.

**Our Fruitcake Fruits, 20 ounces of tasty dried apricots, raisins, pineapple, dates, and cranberries, is the perfect size for this recipe.

(Chris puts in apricots, golden raisins and cranberries for our dried fruit selection)

In a very large bowl, combine the oats, coconut, wheat germ, nuts, and seeds. Mix well. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, salt, maple syrup, and vanilla. Pour over the dry mixture in the bowl, stirring and tossing till everything is very well combined; a spoonula or large stirring spoon work well here.

Spread granola on a couple of large lightly greased baking sheets; a half-sheet pan is ideal. Bake in a preheated 250°F oven for about 2 hours, stirring the mixture after an hour or so. You want to bring the granola at the edge in towards the middle, so it all browns evenly. And reverse the baking sheets in the oven (top to bottom, bottom to top) after you stir.

When the granola is a light–to–medium golden brown, remove it from the oven and cool completely on the pans. Transfer the granola to a large bowl, and mix in the dried fruit. Store in a tightly closed container at room temperature for several weeks; freeze for extended storage. Or portion into pretty patterned plastic bags for gift-giving.
Yield: about 18 cups, about 4 1/4 pounds granola.

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