Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Best Meal of the Day

Mark is funny. He goes through phases with his breakfast item-of-choice, and often uses one option day after day until he's sick to death of eating it. Then he'll want the next item on his list until he's worn that one out. He's been asking me for a few days to make him granola, which I periodically do, and he finally mentioned yesterday that he doesn't really like breakfast anymore - a sign that he definitely needed a change of pace. I got to work.

My granola recipe originally started from one I got out of a Williams-Sonoma catalog. I used to snip their recipes and try the ones that didn't involve specialty items you could only buy from them. As with all my recipes, it evolved over time until I found just what I like. I love the simple, sweet flavors in the honey and butter and the depth from the roasted almonds. You can roast the almonds by baking them in a single layer in a 350° oven for 8-10 minutes, until they're fragrant. They'll toast a bit more during the recipe, so don't overbake them.


4 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
3/4 c. roughly chopped, toasted almonds
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 c. dried sweetened cranberries
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. honey
3 T. orange juice

Preheat the oven to 325°. Coat a large baking sheet with non-stick spray or a silicone mat to prevent sticking, then set aside.

Stir together the oats, salt, cinnamon, and almonds in a large bowl. In a medium microwave-safe dish, combine the remaining ingredients and melt on high for 1-2 minutes, until the butter is completely melted. Stir until the mixture is consistent, then add to the oats. Stir everything together to coat the oats and almonds evenly, then spread across the baking sheet.

Bake for 35-50 minutes, depending on your oven and how toasted you like your granola to be (45 minutes is just about right for me), stirring a couple of times during the last 15 minutes of baking. Cool to room temperature. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks. Serve with milk or yogurt and fruit.

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