How to make your own granola

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"Why don't I make my own granola all the time?" is a thought I had recently, because these are the things I think about when I should be doing something more productive.

But really, why don't I?

Most of what I do in the kitchen is recreate really delicious things I’ve eaten somewhere else. Isn't that what home cooking is all about? The most recent example is a granola from Bandit Coffee Co. in St. Petersburg. One day when I was in for a latte, I ordered the granola for breakfast. It was sweet but also very savory, with warm spices and salt. They served it in a bowl with steamed milk, which was a total revelation. Granola on top of cold yogurt is usually my preferred method, and when I do eat it like cereal it’s with cold milk. But this cereal-oatmeal hybrid changed my granola perspective.

I wrote more about that here.

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For this recipe, I wouldn't worry too much about being precise with your measurements. Play around a bit, find amounts that work for you. If you want something really sweet, try adding honey and maple syrup. Or salt the whole thing up. Black pepper would add a little something zingy to the mix. 

I definitely burnt some of my nuts because I forgot they were in the oven. It was a nice mellow burn, not a black charcoal-y burn, so I used them in one of the batches and it was kind of amazing? My only real advice is to get those rolled oats, because they're larger and can stand up to the roasting process better. Go to town, granola fiends!

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Maple Cashew Granola

2 cups rolled or quick-cooking oats
¼ cup olive oil
½ cup raw cashews
¼ cup raw sunflower seeds
¼ cup raw slivered almonds
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon cardamom
¼ teaspoon allspice
Pinch of salt

Heat oven to 325 degrees.

Place oats on a dry baking sheet and drizzle with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Roast for about 20 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes. If oats look pretty brown, keep an eye on them. Cook until light brown and fragrant.

Remove from oven and scoop into a medium bowl. Set aside.

Wipe off baking sheet so it’s pretty dry. Add cashews, sunflower seeds and almonds. Roast in oven for about 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them; if they start to smell too fragrant or turn dark brown, remove from oven even sooner. When nuts are done, scoop into the same bowl as the oats.

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Add maple syrup and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to bowl and toss immediately to coat the mixture. Add cinnamon, cardamom, allspice and salt and toss again until thoroughly mixed. Taste granola and adjust seasonings as desired.

Lay a piece of parchment paper on the same baking sheet you’ve been using, and add contents of bowl back to sheet. Return to the oven for 5 minutes, and cook, stirring once. Remove from oven, let cool, then eat or store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Makes about 3 cups granola.

Source: Michelle Stark, Tampa Bay Times