Having grown up in the 70s, it is probably a little bit surprising that I haven't really had much granola in my life, although I recall there being various macrame things and stuff made out of gimp floating around my parents' house. I only really started eating it a few years ago to incorporate more grains and yogurt in my diet, as I usually have those together for breakfast or an afternoon snack. This wasn't something that my folks kept around the house much, and I don't ever recall my mom actually making it from scratch, although she did go through a whole wheat bread baking phase.
So, it was interesting to read Molly Wizenberg's story in the June issue of Bon Apppetit. She writes about falling in love with a particular version of granola after going to a fitness spa with her mother and her attempts at trying to make the recipe. Through that she created her perfect Everyday Granola. Earlier this week, I ran out of the store-bought kind that I usually keep in stock. This provided the perfect excuse to try out a new project, in keeping with my mission to try to make more things myself instead of buying them ready-made.
Even before the mixture hit the oven, you could smell the blend of the honey, spices, and oats coming together. It started out looking like a pale imitation of what I normally eat. Then, as the minutes on the oven timer ticked by, the aroma of comforting toastiness started to waft through my apartment. Following the directions, I dutifully stirred the mixture every ten minutes, to encourage even browning.
Adding dried cherries after cooking
At first glance, I wasn't sure if I should have left the tray in the oven for another ten minutes or so. Instead, I decided to adhere to the instructions. After allowing the mixture to cool for about five minutes and stirring the granola around to incorporate the dried fruit, I saw that the end result was clusters of caramel-colored grains and lightly-browned almonds. I popped a test sample into my mouth, and then another, and another. I could see this being an addictive habit to adopt.
Kitchen Witch Tip:
When measuring out the honey and oil, use a liquid measuring cup. Pour the oil in first (two tablespoons is less than 1/4 cup), then pour in the 1/3 cup honey. This way, the oil coats the measuring cup, and the honey will slide right out of the cup and into the pan - less muss, less fuss and no sticky mess to clean up!