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The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook: Homemade Granola

A pretty simple, very good-tasting recipe from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook . I have a couple of quibbles: the cooking time was too long, and I don't like what happens to the granola's texture when it's stored.

Ina Garten's recipe says to cook the oat-almond-coconut mixture for 45 minutes, or until golden brown. My granola mixture was deeply brown within 30 minutes. When you make this recipe, stir the mixture every 5 to 10 minutes, and watch carefully starting at about 25 minutes, since you don't want to burn the coconut.

When you take the oat mixture out of the oven, it will still be sort of sticky. As it cools, it becomes crisp and crunchy. If you don't stir the mixture every 10 or so minutes as it cools, it will become a rather solid lump of granola. If you do end up with a granola brick, never fear, because you can easily break it up with your fingers. My texture problem came with the addition of all the diced dried fruit to the crunchy granola. As soon as the two are combined, the moisture of the fruit causes the granola to become limp and lose all its crunch. If you want to save the granola for breakfast over the course of a few days or a week, I suggest that you store the crisp oat mixture and the moist fruit separately, combining only as much as needed just before serving.

You could vary this recipe according to your tastes. Try different dried fruits and/or nuts. Use maple syrup in place of the honey. Add cinnamon or nutmeg, if desired. Experiment and see what works!

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 to 45 minutes
Yield: 12 cups

4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups sweetened, shredded coconut
2 cups sliced almonds
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup good honey
1 cup small-diced dried figs
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup roasted, unsalted cashews

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Toss the oats, coconut, and almonds together in large bowl. Whisk together the oil and honey in a small bowl. Pour the liquids over the oat mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until all the oats and nuts are coated. Pour onto a 13x18-inch baking sheet. Bake, stirring every 5 to 10 minutes with a spatula, until the mixture turns a nice, even golden brown, about 30 minutes. Remove the granola from the oven and allow to cool, stirring occasionally.

Combine the apricots, figs, cherries, cranberries, and cashews in a large bowl. Store the cooled granola and the fruit mixture separately in airtight containers, combining as needed just before serving.



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