This is my first post of the new year and, after all the rich holiday offerings, I thought a breakfast entry might be a nice change. I made this granola as part of our Christmas Day brunch. It was terrific sprinkled over a small bowl of thick, honey vanilla flavored Greek yogurt, and was my favorite part of the meal. My family loves the combination of dried apricots and freeze-dried raspberries, but if you can’t find (or do not want) the raspberries I have made it with dried cherries, blueberries, and strawberries. You could also use dried mangoes, peaches, cranberries, raisins, or figs. Occasionally I have come across freeze-dried blackberries (they are more expensive) that are also delicious in granola. Feel free to add nuts and seeds as well. I use steam table oats because I can buy them in bulk locally and I like their thicker, chewier texture. You can use old fashioned rolled oats, but because they are thinner you will need to reduce the baking time by 5-10 minutes so they do not burn.
Apricot Raspberry Granola
5 c. steam table oats (or old fashioned rolled oats)
1-1/2 c. unsweetened fine shredded coconut
1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 c. canola oil
1/3 c. honey
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond emulsion or extract
1-1/4 c. chopped dried apricots (from 1 c. packed dried apricot halves)
1 c. freeze-dried whole raspberries
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl combine oats, coconut, brown sugar, spices, and salt. Stir to mix. Add canola oil, honey, and extracts. Mix with your hands to break up large clumps of granola mixture. Pour onto a thick half sheet baking pan, spread the mixture evenly across the pan, and bake for 30-35 minutes until granola has begun to darken. Stir every 5-7 minutes to keep the granola from burning. The mixture will still look wet but it will dry as it cools. Remove from oven and let sit on a rack for 10 minutes. Sprinkle dried fruit over cooked mixture, then stir to mix evenly into granola. Let cool completely. Store in airtight containers or quart size mason jars. Makes 10 cups.