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Crunchy Granola

According to Urban Dictionary, crunchy granola refers to “a person who is into all that natural crap and eats tofu and does yoga and hugs trees”.  I don’t mind tofu if it’s well disguised (it actually adds unparalleled moisture to cakes!), I have come to really love yoga, but I’ve never hugged a tree and don’t intend to!  I don’t think I’m particularly crunchy, but I am a sucker for this homemade granola!  Since I’m very allergic to nuts, granola is one of those foods that I never get to eat unless it’s homemade, since most packaged granolas contains at least one variety of nuts.  I’ve tried making it many times, and I’m usually disappointed because it’s a little soft, not super crunchy how I love it.  I finally hit the nail on the head with this recipe!  I hope you love it as much as I do!  It’s a great snack to munch on dry handfuls, or enjoy it mixed into yogurt with fresh berries for a filling and healthy breakfast or dessert parfait.

Crunchy Granola
Yield:  3 cups
Time:  10 minutes hands-on;  60 minutes total

2 cups oats (use the old fashioned type, not quick cooking)
1/3 cup oat bran*
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup orange juice
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup total dried fruit (I like using a combination of raisins, golden raisins, dried cherries, and dried blueberries.  Dried mango, papaya, pineapple, or cranberries could also work!)

1.  Preheat the oven to 325ºF.  Lightly grease a 9×13″ glass baking dish and set aside.

2.  In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the oats, oat bran, and cinnamon.  Set aside.

3.  In a small saucepan, combine the honey, orange juice, and brown sugar.  Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.  Add the butter and mix until completely melted.  Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.  Pour over the oat mixture, tossing to coat.  Spread into the prepared baking dish.  Bake at 325ºF for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.  At the end of the 45-minute baking time, remove from the oven and allow to sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours, until fully cooled.  Gently break apart the pieces and stir in the dried fruit.

 

*For those of you not familiar with oat bran, it has a flour-like consistency and is usually sold in the same aisle with hot cereals such as Farina, Cream of Wheat,…  I often mix some into homemade pancake batter for more wholesome pancakes.  In this recipe, you could swap the oat bran for ground flax seeds if you prefer.

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