I’m forever stumbling upon handmade goodies in my travels, making it impossible to enjoy the store-bought version of whatever it is afterward. On a story trip years ago to Eureka Springs, Arkansas, I stopped in for breakfast at a hippie-dippy café set high on one of the town’s legendary hills. The view from all the windows that sunny, cool morning was of the surrounding pine forest, making me feel as though I was in a treehouse. What cemented the morning’s memory was the exquisite, homemade granola that bore lots of baking spices. The texture was nutty and crunchy, the kind that holds up well to the yogurt and fruit in the bowl – really, who likes soggy granola? So I set about making my own at home, finding it’s ridiculously easy. And so much better than any I find in the store! It makes a nice gift, too. You can play around with ingredients, adding or subtracting the spices, changing out different kinds of nuts (sliced almonds are good, as are walnut and cashew pieces), and switching up the dried fruits. At my house, we love it over plain Greek yogurt or Icelandic skyr, drizzled with a little raw honey, and topped with seasonal fruit. You can also make a parfait for a pretty brunch treat.
Makes about 8 cups
5 cups dry rolled oats
¾ cups raw pecan pieces
¾ cups raw almond slivers
½ cup raw sunflower seeds
½ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons avocado, coconut, or sunflower oil
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup or agave nectar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
3 teaspoons ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup dried cherries or cranberries or golden raisins
Heat oven to 275 degrees. Cover 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine rolled oats, pecans, almonds, sunflower seeds, and coconut.
In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, syrup or nectar, spices, and salt. Whisk for 1 minute to thoroughly combine.
Drizzle the spiced oil mixture over the oats and nuts, stirring well as you drizzle to evenly distribute.
Spread the oats onto the cookie sheets and bake in the oven for 1 hour, stirring well every 15 minutes, until evenly browned.
Allow to cool thoroughly; stir in cherries, cranberries or raisins. Transfer to jars with tight-fitting lids for storing. Keeps well for 1 month.