There's something about crunch. Is it the sound? The satisfaction we get from chomping down with our teeth into the armor of a crispy little nugget of goodness? I can't say for sure, but I can say that this granola sates my otherwise endless craving for crunchiness. Oh, and like all good things, it's sweet!From a little Internet researching, a little cookbook sleuthing, I came up with this recipe, pretty much the first recipe I have ever created "on my own." It can easily become "your favorite granola" simply by customizing it: keep the ratios of the liquids and dry ingredients the same and you really can't go wrong. One word of caution: watch this stuff like a hawk in about the last ten minutes of baking, because that's when it tends to get moody, and say, "I'm going to burn if I want to, and you can't stop me." Otherwise, smooth sailing, and happy mouths.
Courtney's Favorite Granola
Preheat oven to 300 degrees
Mix dry ingredients:
3 cups oats
1 cup of walnuts (or almonds, or any other nut you like)
1/2 cup shredded coconut
Mix wet ingredients and spices
1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
1 TB vegetable oil
2 tsp cinnamon (or 1 each of cinnamon and nutmeg for a Christmas-y feel)
1 tsp vanilla, almond, or maple extract
1/2 c applesauce (I use sugar-free)
2-4 TB brown sugar
Incorporate mixed wet ingredients into mixed dry ingredients. Sprinkle with a dash of salt. Spread mixture on a greased jelly roll/roasting pan. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, stirring after about 20 minutes. After baking, allow granola to rest in pan for about 5 minutes to finish baking completely. Spread granola onto a sheet of foil paper or a different pan to finish cooling completely. Mix in dried fruit if desired (I like dried cranberries, dried apple slices, or raisins). Store in airtight container for about a week, or in a Ziploc bag in the freezer for up to a month or two (not sure how long it lasts to be honest, because I eat it pretty quickly, but this seems to be the general consensus among other granola bakers).