america is a nation of cereal fanatics. i know of no other culture that adores breakfast cereal to the same extent, many of us content to call it lunch and dinner, also. pastry chef christina tosi of momfuku's milk bar in manhattan even masterminded "cereal milk" soft serve ice cream, a shout out to the intensely flavored milk left behind in your bowl that is better than any prize they could have slipped in the box. there is something very satisfying about making your own breakfast cereal, especially when the taste is incomparably better than anything you could find in the grocery store. meet my mom's everyday granola. it is so quick and simple and can be altered to suit your tastes or whatever you have in the pantry. it's such a good traveler so it makes for a perfect gift best given for no apparent reason. for me, that is this granola's most endearing quality. the almondy-honey milk left behind in the bowl is not too shabby either.
(makes 12 cups)
6 cups old fashioned rolled oats
2 cups sweetened (or unsweetened), shredded coconut
2 cups slivered almonds
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
3/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup honey (or maple syrup or agave - or any combination of the three)
1 tablespoon pure almond extract
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups dried fruit (cranberries, cherries, figs, apricots, blueberries, raisins) - I like cherries & cranberries
preheat oven to 350. grease a large roasting pan with canola oil or cooking spray.
combine the oats, coconut, almonds, cinnamon, and sea salt in a large bowl. mix gently.
combine the canola oil, honey, and extracts in a medium mixing bowl and whisk until well combined. pour the wet mixture over the dry mixture. stir to coat the dry mixture evenly. i think hands are the best tool for the job.
pour the granola into the roasting pan and bake for 15 minutes. after 15 minutes, remove the pan and stir the granola. you want all the granola to get toasted evenly. continue to remove the pan every five minutes to stir. all in all, the granola should bake for about 40 minutes total.
let the granola cool completely in the roasting pan before stirring in the dried fruit. the granola will keep in an airtight container for 2-3 weeks.
* the granola does not clump up like other granolas, making it even more like cereal. i believe the recipe is an adaptation of one by ina garten.
* try different nuts and any combination of dried fruit.