RECIPE. Mar 23, 2010

Hippie Granola

During our wedding vows, my husband recited many of my nicknames, one of them was hippie. I like to recycle, I avoid HFCS with dedication, I compost, I insist on lecturing my friends and family about the important virtues of taking care of the earth and their bodies, I feel I have a very connected relationship with the earth, I live as simply as possible and I have a membership to the co-op. These are all traits that make others in my life, whom I love dearly, call me “hippie”. Yet I had never really embraced this stereotype in it’s entirety. I hated granola. I mean that’s another name for hippie, right? Granola cruncher? I had tried it, in several forms and couldn’t stand the complexity. It always felt like to many flavors at once, fighting for the attention of each taste bud, leaving my mouth feeling as though it had housed the WWE. Then there was the moth ball taste of dried ingredients left too long in the bulk food section, dusty and lacking the burst of flavor I love in the morning.

As I started following cooking blogs, I noticed everyone seemed to have their own granola recipe. Something they made at home and insisted was addictive. The ingredients were simple enough and it didn’t take much time, so I decided to embrace the fullness of my hippie nickname. The first few recipes burnt pretty bad. Then I learned you have to use light colored baking sheets and parchment paper. I tried again with more success but I still wasn’t quite addicted. I have tried five different granola recipes and the following recipe is my mix of my favorite parts of each one, leading to the addictive quality you will discover upon first bite. I have learned, however, the brilliant part about granola, is you can put whatever YOU want into the recipe. Make sure you have grains, spices and some oil, sugar and sticky substance (honey, agave) and you’re well on your way to your own creation.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. In large bowl, toss oats with cinnamon, salt, cardamom, ginger and sunflower seeds.

In medium bowl, whisk together honey, oil, brown sugar, vanilla and almond extract until smooth. Pour honey mixture over oats and use hands to blend ingredients until oats are coated with honey mixture.

Pour mixture on baking sheet and spread evenly. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from oven and sprinkle almonds then use spatula to flip granola. Bake for five minutes then remove from oven and sprinkle hazelnuts over mixture. Bake for 10 minutes.

Remove granola from oven and let cool completely (about 30 minutes). Sprinkle raisins and cherries over granola. Will keep for one week in airtight container.

I eat my granola with yogurt and fresh cut fruit such as mangos, bananas or pomegranate seeds. I will also just use milk instead of yogurt.