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Best Granola Ever!

Best Granola Ever!

This is without a doubt the best granola I have ever eaten.  It has tons of flavor, great texture and is full of wholesome ingredients.  The secret is the addition of fruit preserves and an egg.  The fruit preserves (jam, apple butter, etc.) majorly boost the flavor and the egg acts as a binder to create nice clusters that are often missing in homemade granola.

I never would have thought to make granola this way and this recipe is actually the result of a happy accident.  I was pregnant with Nate and woke up craving granola bars.  So I found a whole bunch of granola bar recipes, haphazardly pieced them together (this inability to follow a recipe is both a blessing and a curse!) and popped them in the oven.  15 minutes later I had a tray of oat clusters that would not stick together to save their life.  The flavor however was so outstanding I knew I had stumbled on something good.  I played around a bit with the recipe, cooking depth and temperature and the end result is some awesomely good granola.  I will never use another granola recipe again!

Best Granola Ever!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup fruit preserves (ex. jam)
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
  • 3/4 cup dried fruit

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Mix the oats, coconut, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl.  Set aside.
  • In a medium size bowl combine the melted butter and sugar and stir until totally smooth.
  • Add the lightly beaten egg and fruit preserves to the sugar mixture.  Stir until evenly mixed.
  • Add the wet mixture to the oat mixture.  Stir until incorporated.
  • Stir in the nuts and dried fruit.
  • Spread about ½” deep onto 2 large baking sheets.  Make sure it is very even – it turns quickly from perfect to burnt and any low spots tend to char.
  • Bake for 16-24 minutes until the edges start to brown.  Start checking after 16 minutes so it doesn’t burn.
  • Remove from oven and let it cool completely before storing (if you put it in a container while it’s still warm, moisture accumulates and it gets soggy).  It will be soft when you take it out and will harden as it cools.
  • Crumble into whatever size clusters you like and store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Notes: You can customize this recipe a bit based on the fruit preserves, nuts and dried fruit you choose:

  • Fruit preserves:  I like chunky jams for this recipe.  My absolute favorite is peach jam (I found it at the farmers market and was happy to see that my grocery store also carries a version made by Polaner).  Fruit butters such as apple or pear butter are also really good.  I’ve never used jelly but I suppose that would work too (I’d love to hear from you if you try it).
  • Nuts – I like almonds and walnuts but most any nut will do
  • Dried fruit – Raisins, cranberries, cherries, figs, prunes, berries – try any combination that strikes your fancy!

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/emilylaurel/6950102759/

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