Thursday, January 21, 2010

Cardamom-Apricot Granola

What? You're not a granola person? I'm sorry, but we can't be friends. Couldn't possibly. Huh uh. I only befriend people with the highest respect for oats, something about my Irish ancestry. So maybe you should just look away now, while I unveil perhaps the greatest feat in granoladom for quite some time. It's cardamom. As warm and spicy as cinnamon, but deeper, more potent, and the perfect counterpoint for dried apricots and maple syrup. Ah, yes, winter seems a distant, faraway land right now. Don't talk over my breakfast.

Cardamom-Apricot Granola
Makes about 10 cups

4 cups old-fashioned oats
2 cups rice cereal (I had leftover Cheerios to get rid of, so use whatever you like)
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup dried apricots, diced
1 cup raw sunflower seeds, unsalted
1 cup shredded coconut, sweetened or unsweetened
1/4 cup wheat germ, optional
2 T ground flaxseed, optional
1 tsp cardamom
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt

1/2 cup maple syrup (the real stuff is amazing here)
3/4 cup mild-flavored vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla

Heat oven to 250ยบ and get out a rimmed baking sheet, 13"x 17" works great.

In a giant bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients. Go ahead and use your hands. It's easier. In a small pitcher or another bowl, mix the oil, syrup and vanilla together. Pour the syrup and oil over the oat mixture and use your hands to toss everything together. Turn the granola out onto your sheet pan and spread it into an even layer. Use your fingers to poke the bits of apricot underneath the oats. It's impossible to get them all, but try for about two minutes.

Bake the granola for one hour. Take out of the oven and use a spatula to turn it, scraping down to the bottom. Let it set on the countertop until it's fully cooled. Bag it and store.

I store granola in a clear glass cookie jar on the countertop, so cereal is always available. It stands up to this type of storage nicely in the winter. Summertime, it lasts about a week. Damn humidity. But granola also freezes nicely for months.

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