Honey-Spice Granola with Fruit and Nuts

Homemade granola is super yummy and easy to make, and it gets a high score on my “worth the trouble” meter since store-bought granola is so expensive. I got my original ingredient proportions from an epicurious recipe, but you can mix it up however you like.

4 cups rolled oats (not instant or quick cook, the texture is weird)
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon spices (cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, chili powder, star anise….)
1 cup raw nuts, chopped (walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, coconut flakes, sesame seeds, flax seeds, etc. you can use more or less if you like. If you only have toasted nuts, that is ok, just don’t bake them with the oats)
1/3 cup honey
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 cup chopped dried fruit (raisins, craisins, cherries, blueberries, mango, figs, bananas, apricots, candied ginger)
You could also add chocolate chips, chocolate covered raisins, or other yummies

Preheat the oven to 300. Line a cookie sheets with foil and spray with oil (makes for easy transfer of the granola and easy clean up).

Mix the oat in a large bowl with the brown sugar, salt, spices and nuts. Heat the honey, vegetable oil and 2 tablespoons white sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer to dissolve the sugar. Pour over the oat mixture and stir to coat evenly and distribute the spices.

Spread evenly on the cookie sheet and pop in the oven for 15 minutes. Stir and check for color change. Put back in for 15 minutes more. Total cook time should be between 30 and 50 minutes. You just have to keep checking to see if it is a golden brown color and the oats are nice and crispy. If you don’t cook it long enough, the oats will have that raw, floury taste.

Take the granola out of the oven and spread the dried fruit over the top of it. I do this to dry out the fruit just a bit so that it doesn’t make the granola go stale more quickly. Some dried fruits can be quite moist. The heat from the cookie sheet will help to evaporate off some of the moisture. Let the granola cool this way for at least an hour. Do not package it up if it is still warm, as moisture will collect inside the container and spoil the crunchiness. Once cool, mix in any chocolate or melty items. Store in an airtight container.

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