Really Great Granola

Hello Bakers,

Today's blog post is about granola. How to make really delicious granola.
I never buy granola. I make granola. I am a granola snob.
My granola roots run very deep. This is a truly delicious recipe and holds a place deep in my heart.

Years ago, I worked as a private chef for a group of residential Americorps volunteers,
stationed in Hawley, Massachusetts.
The kitchen was in the main building, it was huge, had two commercial ranges and a solid oak walk in. It was a great kitchen.
The buildings were built in the 1930s - the kitchen window looked out onto the pond.

I cooked mostly vegetarian fare on budget that was beyond meager.
But in summer there was the garden - which the volunteers tended and the local coop full of bulk items. Somehow it all worked out - we always had enough.

I baked and cooked everything from scratch and this granola was a mainstay. I made it twice a week.

The volunteers took on trail with them - their summer months were spent rebuilding YCC (Youth Conservation Corps) trails throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 
In winter, they ate it on top of oatmeal for breakfast or took it for lunch when they went off to teach environmental education in the local schools.
The inspiration for this recipe came from the Curtis and Schwartz cookbook. 
Sadly, this wonderful cafe closed in 1997 - I am sure there are people in Northampton that miss it to this day.
Cooking for the Americorps  volunteers was a unique experience as far as private chef life goes - but I truly loved it - although I didn't make much money - I was able to make a difference.
Happy Baking!

Granola Recipe

2 cups (7 ounces) of whole oats (preferably organic)
½ cup (2 ounces) of walnuts
1/2 cup (2 ounces) of sliced natural almonds
2 Tablespoons (1 ounce) sunflower seeds
3 Tablespoons (1 ½ ounces) pumpkin seeds
1 Tablespoon (½ ounce) sesame seeds
½ cup (2 ounces) cashews
3 Tablespoons (1 ½ ounces) shredded coconut (preferably unsweetened)

1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 tablespoon of peanut butter

Extras to be added after baking:
Any dried fruit, raisins, cranberries, blueberries and diced dried apricots

Baking sheet lined with Parchment Paper
Small saucepan
Large bowl for mixing
Heatproof spatula

1.   Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.   Arrange all the dry ingredients in separate flat piles on the baking tray.
3.   Toast them for 10 minutes – the coconut will begin to turn a light golden brown.
4.   Once toasted, pour the dry ingredients into a large bowl.

5.   Place all the wet ingredients in a small saucepan and bring them to a low simmer – whisk until smooth.

6.   Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until the dry ingredients are lightly coated.
7.   Spread the mixture onto the parchment lined sheet.
8.   Bake for 8 minutes, remove the pan from the oven, place on a heatproof surface and stir evenly. Place back in the oven and bake for another 8 minutes, remove and stir.
Repeat this process until the mixture is golden brown.

9.   Add any dried fruits to the granola while it is still cooling.
10.                Granola keeps for several weeks, stored in an airtight container.

Garnish with yogurt, fresh fruit or stir it into your oatmeal.