Wednesday, August 27, 2014

From the Kitchen: Coconut and Dried Fruit Granola

My mother-in-law made us a batch of this coconut granola, and we loved it!  I've made it several times since then - it is perfect for a quick and filling breakfast when paired with some low-fat, plain Greek yogurt and fruit (I love it with strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries on top!)  The recipe is pretty forgiving -- if you don't have (or like) the nuts or dried fruits that the recipe calls for, feel free to substitute your favorite (such as whole almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, diced dried pineapple, dried cherries, etc.)


Coconut and Dried Fruit Granola

Yield: approximately 10 cups
Cook time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup walnut pieces
1/2 cup ground flax seed*
2 cups large-flake unsweetened coconut**
2 cups dried fruit (I used chopped dried apricots, raisins, and dried cranberries)

*found in the baking aisle near the flour or in the bulk section at stores like Sprouts
**my mother-in-law had trouble finding this at her store; I found it in the baking aisle at Kroger, near the chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 325.  In a medium bowl, stir together the brown sugar, vegetable oil, honey, vanilla extract, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  It will form a brown paste.  Add the oats to the bowl and stir until the oats are coated in the paste. 

Spread the mixture onto 2 large, rimmed baking sheets or jelly roll pans lined with parchment paper or silpat mats.  Spread the oats evenly on the baking sheets with a spoon or rubber spatula.  Bake for 15 minutes.

Remove the baking sheets from the oven and add 1/2 cup of slivered almonds to each pan.  Stir the mixture, spread out on the pan, and return to the oven, switching the pans between the racks.  Bake for 5 minutes.

Remove the baking sheets from the oven and add 1/2 cup of walnut pieces and 1/4 cup of ground flaxseed to each pan.  Stir the mixture, spread out on the pan, and return to the oven, switching the pans between the racks.  Bake for 10 minutes.

Remove the baking sheets from the oven and add 1 cup of coconut to each pan.  Stir the mixture, spread out on the pan, and return to the oven, switching the pans between the racks.  Bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until the coconut is light brown.

Remove the granola from the oven and allow to cool in the pans.  It will continue to crisp and dry out as it cools, so don't worry if it seems too soft when it comes out of the oven.  When completely cooled, mix the granola with the dried fruit.  Store in a tightly sealed container; it should keep for up to a month, if it lasts that long in your house (it doesn't in ours!)

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