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The Best Granola Ever (really!)

Posted Feb 01 2010 7:13am

From January 2010 photos

If it seems like a carpet of granola, it is. It's a delightfully large amount of tasty, crunchy, and all-kinds-of-good-for-you stuff (and I say stuff because it's equally at home in a bowl of non-dairy milk and in a container for snacks on the trail or car).

This is yet another of my recipes published in Dave Grotto's 101 Optimal Life Foods that I'm spotlighting (at least until I've shared all the new recipes). I was a bit ingredient-ly challenged when I put this batch together, so in the recipe below I'll show my minor changes in bold.

What makes this the best ever? Well, for one, all the warming spices. Here, I've used cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, and cardamom to really zip up this granola. There also is a great variety of chewy dried fruit, seeds and nuts for richness, and barley flour for crunchy bits. Dave Grotto recommends it for improved skin (nuts and flax); circulation (nuts, oats, cranberries, and cherries); nerve pain (nuts); stress and anxiety (sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and almonds); erectile dysfunction (go figure!) (nuts, seeds, coconut, oats, and barley); benign prostatic hyperplasia (barley, pepitas, and flax); and many other ailments explained in his new book.

In this slightly altered version, I have more dried cranberries and carob chips instead of dried plums. I love how the tartness of the berries sets off the rich nuts and seeds. Just be careful to have small servings because there is a lot of fat in this granola.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, the format of the recipe as printed in Dave's new book is different than that of my Altered Plates postings (down to the use of the term agave syrup instead of agave nectar). Also, I never turn the oven on until everything is ready to be baked because my oven only takes a few minutes to come to temperature. However, I respect integrity, so below is the recipe straight from 101 Optimal Life Foods by David Grotto, RD, LDN Copyright © 2009 by David Grotto. The recipe is excerpted from the original book by permission of Bantam, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Cherry-Chai Spice Granola
Servings: 30

Ingredients
3 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup barley flour
3/4 cup shredded unsweetened dried coconut (as finely shredded as possible)
3/4 cup chopped almonds (I used walnuts)
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup flax seeds, ground
3/4 cup sunflower seeds (I only had 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds or pepitas (I only had 1/4 cup)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/3 cup grapeseed oil
1 cup agave syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Post-baking add-ins3/4 cup apple juice-sweetened cranberries (I used 1 cup)
3/4 cup unsweetened dried cherries (I didn't have any cherries, so I used 1/2 cup dried gogi berries)
3/4 cup chopped pitted dried plums (I used the same amount of unsweetened carob chips)

DirectionsPreheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
     In your largest bowl, combine the first fourteen ingredients (all the ingredients up until the oil). Ensure that there aren't any flour pockets.
     In a much smaller bowl, blend the three wet ingredients until well incorporated.
     Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until all the dry ingredients have been coated. Spread the mixture equally onto the prepared baking sheets. Wash and dry the bowl and set aside.
     Bake for 15 minutes, then take the sheets out of the oven, stir the granola, and switch the positions of the sheets (the top one goes on the middle rack and vice versa). Bake the granola for another 15 minutes. Stir once more, then bake until uniformly lightly browned. It won't take more than another 15 minutes -- keep an eye on it, or you may burn it. If you like a chunkier granola, stir it less.
     During the final baking, combine the add-ins in your largest bowl. When the granola is done baking, immediately slide it off the pans on top of the add-ins in the bowl and stir well. Spread the mixture into the pans and let the pans cool on top of wire racks for at least 2 hours before transferring the granola to air-tight containers.

Nutritional Profile240 calories, 13 g total fat, 2.5 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 20 mg sodium, 27 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 5 g protein.

From January 2010 photos
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