Gosh, I like you guys.
I mean, really. I bring you a pathetic story about destroying four artichokes, and you respond with encouragement and advice and funny memories of dropped cupcakes and melted plastic lids on macaroni and cheese. You sure know how to make a girl feel better. I could hug you—each and every one.
But since we are Internet friends and all, and since you probably can’t be heading out to Chicago for some kind of cooking support group, I guess I’ll just do the next best thing—better, in fact:
This granola recipe is something special, really special, just like I promised and just like you ought to receive. This is the granola you will mix together in minutes, simply stirring and spreading and putting in the oven. And when it’s cooled and fully mixed, you will reach for handful after delicious handful, wondering where it’s been all your life.
I do not exaggerate.
It is the creation of Kristin, author of beautiful TheKitchenSinkRecipes.com, and originally calls for flax seed and sesame or pumpkin seeds, but I didn’t have those things, so I omitted them. What I love about this granola (O.K., one of the things I love about this granola) is that it’s the best kind of versatile. Don’t like pistachios? Use something different. Can’t imagine granola without raisins? Make them one of the dried fruit additions.
This is your granola, so you can tweak it.
And it’s good. Really good. Like, the-best-kind-I’ve-eaten good.
After I made this last Saturday, I brought a little Tupperware container over to my friend’s house, where we were going to watch a movie and eat healthy things like turkey burgers and fresh fruit, and the four of us, standing around the island talking, could not stop reaching for this stuff, with at least one person repeating, No, seriously, how is this so good?
With the crunchy texture of baked oats, this granola is sweet, with additions like maple syrup and brown sugar and honey; yet it’s also salty, lightly kissed with sea salt and filled with nuts. You could say I’m prejudiced, as the girl who does anything to put salty and sweet flavors together, having gone as far as sandwiching chocolate between Saltines, but the blend of these tastes is perfection, never allowing your mouth to get bored.
And over the course of the week since making this batch, I’ve eaten it by itself, in bowls of milk for breakfast, in big handfuls at my work desk where I’ve been known to drop crumbs on my shirt and the desk around me. There’s a very real danger that I won’t stop eating this granola, not soon, not ever.
But actually, that’s not a danger at all.
Adapted from The Kitchen Sink Recipes
3 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup coconut flakes, unsweeteend
1/2 cup toasted mixed nuts (I used shelled pistachios and slivered almonds here)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups mixed dried fruit (I used chopped dried apricots and dried cranberries)
Preheat the oven to 375. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
In a large bowl, stir all the ingredients but the dried fruit together.
Spread the mixture on the prepared baking sheet, smoothing it out into an even layer. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on how dark and golden you want it, stirring every 10 minutes.
Remove the granola from the oven and and cool completely, in its pan, on a wire wrack. Once it’s cool, mix in the dried fruit.