Crunchy Granola

7 cups (11/2 pounds) rolled oats, uncooked
1 cup flaked, unsweetened coconut (optional)
1 cup wheat germ
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup diced pecans or walnuts
1 cup sunflower seeds, raw or toasted
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
5 cups mixed dried fruit (such as raisins, cranberries, cherries, diced pineapple, diced apricots, chopped dates)

Preheat oven to 250 F. Lightly coat two rimmed baking sheets with cooking spray.

In a very large bowl, combine the oats, coconut, wheat germ, almonds, pecans and sunflower seeds. Mix well.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, salt, maple syrup and vanilla. Pour over dry mixture, stirring and tossing until everything is well combined.

Spread granola on prepared baking sheets. Bake for about 90 minutes, stirring mixture with a heatproof spatula or spoon, every 15 minutes or so. You want to bring granola at edges in toward middle, so it all browns evenly. Reverse baking sheets in oven (top to bottom, bottom to top) each time you stir.

When granola is a light-to-medium golden brown, remove it from oven and cool completely on pans.

Transfer granola to a large bowl and mix in the dried fruit. Granola will keep for several weeks when stored in sealed containers at room temperature.

Package granola for gifts in large canning jars or decorated cellophane bags. For a more elaborate gift, consider including a set of breakfast bowls and spoons, or an attractive glass milk pitcher.

Makes 18 cups.

— Recipe from The King Arthur Flour Company

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