I’ve never been a breakfast person. When I was in high school, eating breakfast used to make me queasy. If I could eat breakfast around 10am, that would be fine with me. That’s completely independent of coffee, of course. Coffee must be consumed within 15 minutes of waking up or the waking up part never really happens.
And then I get a headache.
I do, however, like granola. I’ve always been a fan of granola bars, muesli, grape nuts, anything sort of carby, crunchy and sweet/salty. So when I saw some homemade granola at a farmer’s market stand in Staunton, Virginia (the very best place on earth go here), I thought, “Well, I can do that.” I vaguely remembered Alton Brown making granola in one of his Good Eats episodes years ago so I went and found the recipe. When I looked at it though, I remembered why I had never made it before. Coconut. Ick. And shredded, sweetened coconut to boot. Double ick. There are very few things I won’t eat. Coconut is one of them. Like most things I won’t eat (tofu, tempura, eggplant), it’s a texture thing.
But with my newfound confidence at adapting recipes to suit, I decide to try it without the coconut. Several evolutions later, mostly to make the finished product a little less sweet, here’s what I arrived at. I eat it pretty much every morning now. Yay for breakfast!
3 cups rolled oats
2 cups whatever tree nuts happen to be on hand or on sale (slivered almonds, chopped walnuts, chopped pecans or a combination)
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup apple juice concentrate (defrosted)
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup dried fruit (raisins, blueberries, cranberries or a combination)
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts and brown sugar. Stir well, making sure brown sugar is well incorporated.
Next add apple juice concentrate, maple syrup, oil, and salt. Pour onto 2 sheet pans. Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to achieve an even color. At the 15 minute mark, add the dried fruit and stir.
Remove from oven and transfer into a large bowl. Let cool and then cover tightly. Keeps up to one month tightly sealed.
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