This recipe is easy to make, the ingredients are simple and the flavor is pleasantly mild. Best of all, you can taste something besides sugar. The dried fruits can be altered with every batch as can the nuts, creating endless variety!
Grade B maple syrup is recommended as it has the best flavor. It is all we use—the Fancy or Grade A is for tourists who think that paying the highest price equates to buying the best. But, we Vermonters know that Grade B is the best maple syrup to buy. (Under no circumstances is phony maple syrup ever to be substituted in this recipe. I won’t mention any brand names--you know what they are.) Honey or molasses can be substituted with good results. This recipe becomes gluten-free when oat bran is substituted for the wheat germ.
Maple Walnut Granola
4 c. rolled oats
½ c. wheat germ
¾ c. broken walnuts
½ c. sunflower seeds
½ tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. cloves
1/8 tsp. allspice
a pinch of nutmeg
½ c. pure Grade B Vermont maple syrup
¼ c. apple cider
2-1/2 c. snipped dried fruit
Preheat oven to 350. Measure the maple syrup and cider into a small saucepan, and heat on the stove until warm, stirring occasionally. Do not let this mixture boil! Maple syrup makes a huge mess when it boils and it doesn’t take long for this to happen, so watch the pan. While the maple syrup is heating select a heat-proof 15 x 10 inch pan and measure into it, the oats, wheat germ, walnuts, and spices. Stir to thoroughly combine.
When the maple syrup is ready, pour it over the oat mixture. Stir to evenly coat the oat mixture. When the liquid is distributed evenly, place the pan into the preheated oven. Bake for 15 minutes. Give the granola a good stir the granola and bake for another 10 minutes. The granola is ready when it is feels dry to the touch.
While the granola is baking prepare the dried fruit. Use scissors to snip larger fruits, such as apricots, figs, prunes, and dates into desired sizes. Any combination of fruits can be used in the granola. (For this batch I used 1 c. dark raisins, 1 c. dried blueberries, ¼ c. apricots and ¼ c. dates.)
When the granola has finished baking, remove it from the oven onto a cutting board and stir in the prepared dried fruit, combining well. Cool thoroughly. Scrape the granola into an airtight container. It keeps for two weeks.
The Granola is delicious with milk or yoghurt (see my earlier post on how to make your own yoghurt).