One of my fondest memories of kindergarten is making (and devouring) granola as a class activity. Without any nuts or flour, this recipe makes the granola crunchy and sweet with cranberries, which are plumped in orange juice (a technique used by Cook's Illustrated in their granola bars), making a nice flavor and texture contrast. For information on the suitability of oats for celiacs and where to buy gluten-free oats, see Oats and the Gluten-Free Diet.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup orange juice
- 7 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup whole flaxseed
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup honey
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract or flavor extract of choice (optional)
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (optional)
- 2 teaspoons grated nutmeg (optional)
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375 F. Cover an 18- x 12-inch baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
- In a small saucepan, bring cranberries and orange juice to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to warm and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the cranberries are plump and they have absorbed most of the juice. Drain cranberries, removing as much liquid as you can. (You might try putting the cranberries in a strainer and pressing on them with the back of a spoon.)
- In a very large bowl, combine oats, oil, salt and flaxseed. Stir until oats and flaxseed are completely covered with oil. Add maple syrup. Stir to mix completely. Add honey. Stir to mix completely. Add brown sugar, extracts and spices (if using). Stir to mix completely. Add drained cranberries. Stir to mix completely.
- Spread oat mixture in an even layer on the baking sheet, smoothing with a spatula. Bake for 15 minutes. Stir mixture thoroughly, being careful to move lower layers of oats to the top and smooth with a spatula. Bake for 15 minutes. Stir again, moving lower layers to the top, then bake for 15 minutes. At this point, the granola should be starting to brown on the top. Continue stirring and baking for 5 minute intervals, being careful not to let the granola burn.
- When the entire mixture is toasted and browned, carefully remove the granola to a bowl. Let cool. Store in a sealed container at room temperature. This will last at least two weeks on your countertop or in your pantry.
Serving suggestions: Granola is an excellent cereal, especially when served Scandinavian-style (with yogurt). For those avoiding dairy, its nutty flavor makes it pair well with many milk alternatives. Granola is also an essential part of trail mix, and because this granola isn't sticky or gooey, it works well for that purpose too.