Breakfast food?  Snack? Energy food?  However you categorize granola it is kind-of yummy.  I have made granola over the years, but not to consume; to give as gifts.  Then, the more I played with it, coming up with my own take on it, I started to appreciate it’s whole package.
I make granola, at least, three times per month(I seem to give a lot of it away).  The base always stays the same, but the “mix-ins” are always changing.  It really depends upon what dried fruits are in my pantry and what nuts I have an overabundance of in my freezer. You really can’t go wrong.  What it really comes down to is what tastes best with what. Whether you are using dried cherries, strawberries, blueberries, figs(my favorite), apricots, or golden raisins, it all works.  Make a double batch, keep a jar for yourself and package the rest up for those that you adore.  Who wouldn’t love a bag of freshly made granola left on one’s doorstep?

Homemade Granola
yield: lots and lots

3/4 cups walnuts, raw
3 ounces | 82 grams | 3/4  cup natural almonds, raw
1/3 cup cashews, raw
1/2 cup sunflower seeds, raw
12 ounces | 352 grams | 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted, organic butter
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup muscovado sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
3/4 cup dried figs, chopped
1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped
1/2 cup golden raisins

• preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a large shallow baking sheet with foil. Spread the walnuts, almonds, peanuts, and sunflower seeds on the sheet and roast for 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly toasted. Transfer the nuts to a board, let cool and rough chop. Set aside.
• reduce the oven temperature to 300°F. Pour the oats and sesame seeds into a very large bowl. melt the butter over medium heat. stir in the maple syrup, muscovado sugar, and salt, stir to combine.
• drizzle on top of the oats. stir well with a rubber spatula and then spread out the mixture on the same baking sheet you used for the nuts.
• bake the mixture for 25 minutes, stirring once halfway through.
• add the toasted nuts and the sesame seeds in an even layer on top of the granola.  cook for 5 minutes
• add the fruit in an even layer over the nuts and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
• let cool and don’t stir. the mixture will firm up as it cools.
• store in a glass container with a tight lid. stays fresh for 2 weeks.

More Granola Goodness:
Really Healthy Granola – Organic Spark
Easy Homemade Granola – The Amateur Gourmet
Baked Granola – Technicolor Kitchen
Pantry Granola – Kiss my Spatula
Grain Free Granola – Elana’s Pantry
Great Granola – Three Many Cooks