Morning Granola

MORNING GRANOLA

I’ve been making this granola for as long as I can remember to sprinkle on yogurt for an easy mid-week breakfast. It’s very versatile, and lasts for weeks in a big glass jar. Using this basic recipe as a guide, feel free to substitute any of the dried fruit or nuts, or add unsweetened shredded coconut, quinoa, millet, or amaranth to boost your good fats/whole grains intake for the day. If I’m feeling decadent, I’ll swap chunks of dark chocolate and salted pistachios for the fruit and nuts, then serve it over vanilla ice cream as an easy dessert, with an extra drizzle of maple syrup for good measure. The keys to the recipe are the tangy, reduced apple cider syrup and the bright fragrance of orange zest that glazes the oats, giving this granola an almost cookie-like flavor that my family adores, no matter what else we put in it.

Makes 1 huge batch

4 cups apple cider

4 cups organic oats

½ cup flax seeds

½ cup unhulled sesame seeds

2 cups mixed raw nuts: almonds, cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts, coarsely chopped

½ cup maple syrup

½ cup olive oil, melted coconut oil, or grape seed oil

zest of 1 organic orange

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 ½ teaspoons sea salt

½ cup golden raisins

½ cup organic thompson raisins,

½ cup dried cherries

½ cup slivered crystallized ginger

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a saucepan, bring the apple cider to a boil; reduce the heat and skim the foam from the surface. Simmer, stirring and skimming occasionally, until reduced to about 1 cup of thickened syrup. Set aside to cool for a couple of minutes.

In a very large bowl, toss together the oats, seeds, and nuts so everything is evenly distributed. Pour the reduced cider syrup into a pitcher and whisk in the maple syrup, oil, zest, and spices, then pour over the oat mixture. Using your hands, toss the granola to coat every oat and nut with the liquid, then sprinkle in the salt and toss again.

Line 4 baking sheets with parchment paper and evenly distribute the granola among them. Bake 30–35 minutes, or until golden brown and your kitchen smells like heaven. Stir occasionally and rotate the pans halfway through baking to prevent the edges from getting too dark.

Allow to cool completely on the baking sheets, then pour back into the large bowl and add the dried fruit and ginger (and any other ingredients you wouldn’t bake, like chocolate or any already-toasted nuts you might have on hand). Toss to combine, and pack in glass jars or in airtight zip-top bags. Keeps indefinitely at room temperature.

Sarah Blackburn is a home cook, recipe developer, vegetable gardener and managing editor of Edible Boston. She can be reached at sarah@edibleboston.com