granola!

2011, I like you already! The new year has been full of friends, old and new, laughter, great food and great drinks. I rang in the new year at a spectacular dinner party hosted by the lovely and talented Mr. Anderson. Chocolate mousse, Veuve Clicquot, an amazing view of San Francisco and fireworks – it was an ideal way to start the new year. I really couldn’t have asked for more.

Since we all want to start off the year on the right foot, how about some granola? Every new year, I swear to myself that I’m going to eat healthier. And I know I’m not the only one, which is why I decided a few weeks ago that I would give the gift of good health in the form of homemade granola (along with salted caramels and marshmallows, and a few other sweet things – you can’t deny the people of all the good stuff!).

Why granola? Because it’s healthy! Or maybe wholesome is more fitting. And because a little bag of homemade granola landed on my desk one evening (thanks, Ginger!) and inspired me to make my own. And when poured into jars and tied with some good looking ribbon, it’s practically begging to be given away.

This is my dream granola. It’s full of nuts and dried fruit and toasted coconut and sweetened with brown sugar and maple syrup.  It’s a sweeter granola, which makes it perfect over plain yogurt. I think next time I’ll throw in some candied ginger, maybe some pumpkin seeds. Or dried figs. Mmmmm. The possibilities are endless, sort of like the year to come. Happy New Year, my dears!

homemade granola

adapted loosely from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

makes 1 pound of granola

2 cups rolled oats

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1 cup nuts ( I used a combination of walnuts, pecans, almonds, and hazelnuts)

1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1 cup dried fruit (I used dried cherries, golden raisins, and chopped dried apricots)

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a large bowl, toss the oats with salt and cinnamon.

In a small bowl, combine maple syrup, brown sugar,  oil and vanilla. Whisk until smooth. Pour the syrup mixture into the oats and stir until evenly coated.

Spread the oat mixture evenly onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving a few clumps for texture.

Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and flip the oats with a metal spatula. Scatter the nuts and coconut over the granola and return to the oven.

Continue to bake for 5 minutes, then remove from the oven and flip the mixture again. Return the baking sheet to the oven.

Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and flip the oats one last time.

Return the baking sheet to the oven and bake for 5 minutes. Cool completely. Once, cooled, toss the granola with dried fruit. Store in an airtight container. The granola will keep for 1 week.