This is my new most favoritest granola ever. It is seriously addictive, so beware!
I’ve mentioned before that my hubby is in the military and has a very physical job. I pack his lunches each day with tons of protein and sweet things to get him through the day. With it getting hot he wants more sweet, but nothing that is too heavy. Perfect solution – granola. The problem, he can eat A LOT of granola, and it’s quite pricey.
I started a couple of months ago with a basic granola recipe, which was cheaper, healthier, and tastier than store-bought. Over 10 or so batches of granola, I have tweaked and played, added and subtracted ingredients, and I hit a home run with this final recipe. It is really simple and you will be shocked by how delicious a few simple additions to a traditional granola recipe will make the most addictive treat ever.
If you have ever made granola before, you might be surprised by the lemons. You just have to trust me on this one….
Starts out looking a little bland doesn’t it. Don’t worry! We are going to make this way more interesting really soon.
Start by mixing the 4 cups old-fashioned oats, 1 cup unsalted-roasted peanuts, 1/2 cup sunflower seeds, 1/2 cup wheat germ, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
In a small saucepan, melt together brown sugar and honey. To melt, use medium heat…burned sugar doesn’t taste very good, and we aren’t in a hurry here are we?
While the sugar is melting, zest 2 lemons. If you don’t have a zester like this, you can use the small side of a box grater…but it’s a pain in the neck. What I would do prior to getting a zester was use the regular side of the box grater, then I would use a sharp knife to further slice up the zest. But it is pretty difficult to keep the pith out of the mix with a regular grater, so tread lightly. What is pith you ask?
The pith is the white portion of the rind that lies just beneath the pretty yellow exterior. In the photo above you can see that the lemon has been zested just through the dark yellow part, but none of the bright white pith is showing. This ensures you won’t get that bitter pith in your granola, and that’s a good thing.
After zesting 2 large lemons, this is how much zest you end up with.
Once the sugar and honey are melted together and looks nice and smooth, remove the pan from heat. Add the lemon zest as well as the juice from both lemons and stir well.
Pour the sugar and lemon mixture directly over the oats. Stir all of this together well. It will seem dry, but keep mixing to cover every oat, nut and seed with sugary goodness.
Spread the mixture into a single layer on oven safe pans that are sprayed generously with cooking spray. I have a small oven, so I have to split the mixture between 2 pans. If your oven will fit an 11×17 pan, that would probably be the right size for a single pan.
Cook the mixture in a preheated 300 degree oven for 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes (stir 4 times).
When the granola comes out of the oven the smell is amazing. The mixture darkens to a lovely, sugary brown. While it is still hot, sprinkle a little Kosher salt over the pans. Just a tiny bit, maybe 3 pinches total…just enough to compliment the sugar and lemon. Let the granola cool directly on the pans.
Once the granola is cooled completely, add the dried fruit and dried cranberries, 1 cup each. The photo of this dried tropical fruit was so pretty I had to include it. I want this photo on my wall…
It is lovely once it is all mixed together. I was munching on this the entire time I was working with it. (And so did my dogs as I dropped a bit on the floor when I was trying to package it up).
I like to save jars and dishes to store the granola. A large Ziplock would work well too, but the jars make it easy to shake out the granola over my fruit in the mornings, and it’s easier to pour it into single serving baggies for my hubby’s lunch.
I am pretty happy with where we’ve come with this granola recipe. As I was packaging it up, my hubby called, I told him I just made granola and he asked that I try adding some chocolate chips to half of it. They were a great addition. Play with the recipe to make it your own.
4 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup unsalted, roasted peanuts
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 wheat germ
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
2 large lemons, zested and juiced
1 cup dried tropical fruit
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Mix oats/peanuts/sunflower seeds/wheat germ/ and cinnamon in a large bowl.
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt brown sugar and honey.
Remove saucepan from heat, mix in zest and juice of lemons.
Pour sugar mixture over oats, stir very well.
Spray large, rimmed baking sheet well with cooking spray. Spread granola evenly across pan and cook for 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes (stir 4 times).
While hot, lightly salt with Kosher salt.
Allow granola to cool in pans. Once cool, in a large bowl mix granola and dried fruit together.