I'm a granola nut. My deep, dark secret is that I sample (sometimes liberally) from granola bins at my local health food stores (will refrain from specifically naming any...). I think I've burnt/ruined/butchered over a dozen homemade granola recipes in my lifetime, and have never achieved the illustrious clumpage one finds at the store. So, I guess you could say I'd semi-given up on granola. I know commercially made granola is usually prepared with lots of sugar and/or hydrogenated oils, and even when they're not, they oats are never soaked. Since I fail miserable at making my own granola, I assumed it would be added to the list of "occasional treat".
But no. Enter THE granola recipe. I have to admit, I was skeptical. A granola recipe with soaked oats? Would it taste like flakes of oats? Or like a cakey mess? Or would this be the one...
It's the one. I found the recipe on a blog, and adapted it to my liking. Here's my version:
3 cups rolled oats
1 c freshly ground grains ( i used barley, wheat, spelt, and millet)
scant 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1/4 cup melted butter
3/4 cup plain yogurt (kefir or buttermilk would work here too)
1 cup water
1/4 cup raw honey
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract plus dried vanillin sprinkled over mixture as it cooks
Any or all of the following:
1/2 cup dried shredded coconut
1/2 cup dried fruit
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup minced dried figs
1 cup nuts (optional) - chopped almonds is wonderful!
1 cup dried apples, chopped
Mix oats and grains with the melted butter and oil, kefir and water in a large bowl. Cover with a cloth and/or plate and allow to sit at cool room temperature for 1-4 days. I left mine for four and it was perfect, but I easily could have stopped after 1. After the soaking time, preheat the oven to 200° F (93° C).
Place honey, maple syrup, cinnamon and vanilla in a glass measuring cup in a small pot of warm water. Heat gently until the ingredients are mixed.
Mix honey mixture and oats until thoroughly incorporated. Spread on a cookie sheet. It should look like this:
Cook at 200 degrees. Stir occasionally. Abuse the granola by repeatedly taking it out of the oven so you can bake other, more important things, like the week's dinner. It's forgiving. Bake for 2-4 hours, until dry. It will continue to crisp after it's taken out of the oven!
Let cool and add coconut, raisins, sunflower seeds, fruit and nuts. Store in an airtight container. This makes about 2 quarts...if you don't eat half of it while it's cooking to "check" on the flavor. =) Here's what my finished, beautifully clumped granola looked like (sans add-ins as of now).