It's been a while since I have posted, but with the making of the granola recipe, I thought I would post it in one place and give everyone the link. I started with another granola recipe, but changed it so much, there is little resemblance to the original. I feel safe in calling it "mine". I get most of the ingredients at http://www.asherycountrystore.com/ I love their spices; they are fresher than what you get at the grocery store. The Ashery is also much less expensive than a lot of the fancy health food stores. Mr. Chocolate, my husband, also enjoys this store, as there is a lot of candy strategically placed at the entrance.
8 cups rolled oats
1 cup wheat germ
1 cup oat bran
1 cup flax seed, ground
1 cup pumpkin seed, toasted (this is the inside of the seed, hull removed)
2 1/2 --3 cups pecans (I love pecans, I use a heavy 3 cups for our nut version
Mix all of this in a very large bowl.
In a sauce pan, gently heat:
3/4 cup honey (I try to use the most local honey, not the grocery store stuff)
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons molasses
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons cinnamon
After it's all well-blended, add:
1 cup of vegetable oil
Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add:
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (I use Watkins vanilla, I think it smells wonderful)
Stir in the vanilla. Make a well in the middle of the oat mixture. Pour the liquid into the well, and mix, tossing the oat mixture, and stir until it is blended.
Cover two large cookie sheets with non-stick foil. Split the mixture between the two cookie sheets. I like to press it down into the cookie sheets with the back of a spatula. This will make it easier to flip later.
Bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes. Take out the first cookie sheet, and put in the second cookie sheet. Wait about 5-10 minute so that the first cookie sheet of granola cools a bit. This makes it easier to turn. Flip it, and when the second cookie sheet is done with it's first 15 minutes, trade cookie sheets. Let that second cookie sheet cool, then turn that batch. Bake each cookie sheet for a second 15 minutes, or until it has a lovely toasted color. Cool completely, and store in an airtight container. I did try doubling this recipe, but even with a huge bowl, it was too hard to mix well enough. Try one at a time, it really does make a lot.
Now for the fruit. I learned that it's better to store the fruit separate from the actual granola, so the granola stays crispy. If you don't like your granola crispy, you can store it together. I use about two tablespoons of dried cranberries or raisins in a bowl. I also use dried apples. You can see that process in an earlier post.
We did try sunflower seeds in a trial batch, but they were deemed too strong in flavor, and we decided to leave them out completely. The pumpkin seeds were mild, and are a very healthy choice, so despite their cost I use them. It's probably the most expensive ingredient in the whole thing. So much for those teeny, tiny specialty bags of granola! Once you try this, you won't want any thing else.