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071Granola seems to be a flash back to the 60’s.  It shouldn’t be.  This is THE recipe for granola.  Seriously.  Superlatives aside.  This is so good you won’t stop eating it until your jaws get tired.  Then you’ll rest and go right back in for more!  Truly, it is without a doubt, the best granola you will ever toss over your teeth!  It’s good stirred into yogurt, it’s great sprinkled gingerly over a scoop of ice cream and fantastic eaten just as it is.    My Sister-by-Marriage, is a charming, intelligent, kind and truly wonderful woman.  She’s almost mystical.  If she weren’t all those things and more, she would be just for this recipe.  I have no idea if she invented this (did I mention how creative she is?) or how this recipe crossed her hands, but she was smart enough to grab it and gracious enough to share it we us.  All I know, is that every time I make Super Crunch Granola, I feel nearer to her.  She gave me other really great recipes, that from time-to-time will probably appear here, too

034 Anyway, this version happens to be gluten-free.  Yeah, you can get gluten-free oatmeal, so for those of you with gluten issues, you can have fantastic granola, too.  Personally, I can’t tell the difference between gluten-free and regular rolled oats, except that the gluten-free is much more expensive, so if gluten isn’t a health issue….

The other thing, this is incredibly easy to make.  And because I’m me, I’ve made a couple of very minor changes to the original recipe….

Super Crunch Granola

  • Servings: 1-8
  • Difficulty: Easy
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  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, maple syrup or maple sugar
  • 1/3 cup fruit preserves (apricot is my go to)
  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped (use more if you wish)
  • pinch of salt (this shouldn’t taste salty, but you do need a hint)
  • 1-1 1/2 cups raisins, dates or mixed dried fruit (the pieces should all be about the same size)

Combine the rolled oats and pecans on a foil-lined cookie sheet with sides.  Set aside.  Preheat the oven to 325°F.

Bring the butter, sugar and preserves to a boil, stirring constantly until well blended and smooth.  The preserves need to melt.  Remove from the heat and pour over the oat/nut mixture.  Using a spatula (non-metal) stir the mixture until it is well coated.  Sprinkle with just a pinch of salt.  Spread the mixture evenly in the pan.  Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, until golden.  Stir every 8-10 minutes and check frequently after 25 minutes of baking.

Meanwhile, dice the fruit into evenly sized pieces.  When the oat mixture is browned, remove the pan from the oven, turn off the oven and sprinkle the dried fruit bits over the top.  Stir the fruit in until evenly mixed.  Place the pan back in the turned-off oven for 3 minutes.  Remove the pan from the oven and cool completely.  Store in Zip-loc bags or a tightly covered tin.  The recipe doubles and triples easily.

NOTE:  I like to use a mixture of dried fruit, but not the kind that comes that way.  I dice up the individual fruits and then mix them together.  My favorites are dried cranberries, apricots, figs, dates, and cherries.  I always double this, as it’s so good to just eat out-of-hand.

Super Crunch Granola Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2015.  All rights reserved.

035You simply cook together the butter (yes, Virginia there’s butter in this), brown sugar and some sort of fruit preserves until they come together in a lovely, boiling mass of yummy-ness (that word is never going pass spell check!).  As to the preserves, I usually prefer to use apricot, but I’ve used orange marmalade, strawberry preserves, damson plum and raspberry.  The raspberry was my least favorite; it took over the mixture and sort of obliterated the other flavors and we just can’t have that!

041Pour the mixture over the oatmeal and pecans, that you’ve placed on a foil-lined  cookie sheet with sides, because you smart enough to know this won’t be fun to chip off the cookie sheet.  I sometimes add slivered almonds along with the pecans, but pecans are my favorite.

043Stir the mixture just until the gooey stuff coats the dry stuff nicely.  If you miss a bit, don’t worry about it.  I use a silicone spatula, which for some reason I thought shouldn’t be in the picture, except for that little bit in the upper right corner.

044Place the cookie sheet in the oven and set the timer for 10 minutes.  You’re going to stir the mixture 2 or 3 times during baking.  Try not to break the chunks up too much, unless you prefer your granola that way.

047While the mixture is in the oven, chop up the dried fruit.  I’ve use dried apricots, dates, figs and strawberries; I’ve also used cranberries and cherries, but you don’t need to chop those. I prefer to chop the fruit separately, rather than buy the already mixed bits that don’t taste like any one, individual fruit, but if you like that….

052Remove from the oven.  The mixture won’t be shiny or glossy anymore and will have dried out a bit.  You can see that the mixture has some clumps…clumps are good.058Stir in the dried fruit(s)…oh, there’s my spatula!  Spread it around to even it out and cool to room temperature.  A word of caution, DO NOT sample this yet, or you’ll be writing me nasty comments because you will removed the entire roof of your mouth.  This is screaming hot and caramel-y when it first comes out of the oven.  Thankfully it will be viable for taste-testing in about 10 minutes, giving yourself time to get a cup of coffee, a bowl and a nice spot in your favorite chair….

072And that’s all there is to Super Crunch Granola!