I recently found out that my health-conscious Grandma Charles is spending Christmas Day with my family, and I need a gift idea — fast. Here’s what I’ve whipped up because it’s the only recipe (probably other than peanut buddy bars and deviled eggs) that I’ve made more than 10 times in a row. This “Ultimate Granola” recipe is copied from The Ultimate Cookbook by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarborough, which I love because it’s crunchy, not too sweet, and has plenty of room for variety. The cookbook actually gives suggestions on how to customize this recipe with various sweeteners, nuts, and proteins, but below (for the sake of space and probably copyright laws) is how I prefer it. Perfect served with Cabot’s low-fat vanilla bean Greek-style yogurt and dried Craisins.
ULTIMATE GRANOLA from The Ultimate Cookbook by Weinstein & Scarborough
Makes about 10 cups
1. Start by positing the racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven and preheating the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Spread 6 cups rolled oats (not quick-cooking or steel-cut oats) on a very large baking sheet. Toast in the top third of the oven for 10 minutes. Transfer to a very large bowl. Maintain the oven’s heat.
3. Mix 2/3 cup honey and 1/3 cup canola oil in a small saucepan set over medium head. When the mixture starts to steam or froth, take it off the heat and stir in 1 tablespoon vanilla extract. Set aside to cool.
4. As the mixture cools, stir 1/2 cup wheat germ, 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar, 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon salt into the toasted oats.
5. Add 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts and 1/2 cup powdered dry milk to the toasted oats and blend well.
6. Finally, stir in the prepared honey and oil mixture.
7. Spray two large baking sheets with nonstick spray. Divide the oat mixture between the two baking sheets, spreading it to the corners. Place the trays in the top and bottom thirds of the oven and bake for 10 minutes, stirring once.
8. Reverse the trays top to bottom and back to front, and continue cooking until lightly browned and fragrant, about 10 more minutes, stirring once or twice.
9. Place the baking sheets on wire racks. Cool to room temperature on the trays without disturbing, about 1 1/2 hours.
10. To store: Break up and seal in plastic bags or containers. The granola will keep in a dark, dry place at room temperature for up to 2 months.
This post is featured on Virtual Advent Calendar on December 23, 2011.