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Homemade granola is a satisfying and healthy snack

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By Deanna Godman

I have loved granola since I was a little kid. My mama made it sometimes but since I was one of the only members of my family who liked it, she didn’t make it often. I got granola bars or granola cereal from the grocery store. Granola was not cheap, so it was an occasional splurge.
As an adult, I’ve discovered new flavors of granola. Some grocery stores have several buckets filled with various flavors of it — the ginger granola one is favorite of mine. I wanted a recipe to make my own though. I wanted something not too crunchy or too sweet that I could easily adapt to my personal tastes.
A few years ago, my younger brother set out to hike the Appalachian Trail, and I stumbled across a recipe for what looked like the perfect granola to make for him. Before I even got started, he sent word that he was already tired of granola and trail mix so I set the recipe aside.
Then last spring I checked a book out of the library that had what it claimed was the best healthy granola recipe. I was excited and started gathering the ingredients. It was heavy on seeds (like pumpkin and sunflower) which I don’t especially care for, so I exchanged them for nuts. Each time I tried to make this granola, though, everything burned and it was a horrible mess. Apparently, nuts and seeds need to bake at different temperatures.
Finally, I remembered the recipe that I had clipped to make for my brother and decided to give it a shot. It lists multiple variations and explains where you can make changes to the original. I quickly decided to use three of my favorite things together: pecans, dried cherries and almond extract. It’s not too sweet, and it has never burned. I usually use it as my morning cereal or afternoon snack. I think it would make a great topping for a dessert crisp too.
If you have a recipe you would like to share, contact Deanna at ideas@funmama.net. For the original recipe that this granola is adapted from, see Deanna’s blog at http://blog.funmama.net.

 

Homemade granola

2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal (not quick oats)
½ cup wheat flour
2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup pecans
¼ cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon water
½ teaspoon almond extract
½ cup dried cherries, chopped

Heat oven to 275 F. Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray and set aside. Mix oats, flour, brown sugar, salt and pecans in a bowl. Bring syrup, oil, extract and water to a simmer over low heat. Drizzle over oat mixture and stir to combine. Pour mixture into pan. Squeeze cereal to form small clumps, working a handful at a time. Bake for 30 minutes on middle rack. Stir in dried cherries. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Let cool. Granola can be stored in an air tight container for 2 weeks.