When my son was born, food from friends and family was an absolute lifesaver. My favorite gifted meal was a bag of homemade granola. I don’t think I had ever had homemade granola before, or if I had, it was forgettable. I was blown away after one handful of my friend’s granola. Crunchy, not too sweet, complex flavors … I ate the whole bag in a few days, opting for yogurt and granola over anything else at meal time. Now granola made the day before makes an easy, but healthy breakfast for my son before he heads off to school.
Hitting up the bulk bins for oats, seeds, nuts and dried fruit makes this granola much easier on the wallet than a bag of pre-made granola.
1. Preheat oven to 275˚ F.
2. In a medium saucepan, combine butter, vanilla, salt, cinnamon and sugar. Heat over low heat until sugar is dissolved.
3. In a large bowl, combine oats, nuts and seeds. Pour the melted butter and sugar mix over the top and stir until the oats are covered.
4. Spread oat mixture out over a rimmed cookie sheet, lined with parchment paper. Bake 1 hour, stirring once during cooking time.
5. Meanwhile, pour juice over dried fruit to soften. This will keep the fruit plump and soft during baking. Let rest about an hour.
6. After an hour, add juice and fruit mix to granola. Return to oven for another 20 minutes.