ONE OF MY FAVORITE THINGS about summer is my everyday breakfast. It’s simple: plain yogurt, topped with fresh fruit and granola. But each day I enjoy it with seasonal fruit– raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, apricots, peaches, plums or pears — and I consider it a treat!
Some years ago I wrote here about a granola made with very little oil and some applesauce, to reduce the granola’s usual high calorie count. Well, I have to say, that granola was good, but it was just a little too spartan! (for granola, that is. Muesli, which doesn’t have oil, would be a good alternative if you’re seriously watching weight — and it’s also good with yogurt and fruit.)
These days I just make a more classic granola, using a mixture of oil, maple syrup, vanilla and cinnamon to coat the oats, and add a healthy dose of nuts and seeds. It’s not the richest granola you will ever taste (I know someone who makes granola with butter rather than oil, for example) but it’s pretty darned good.
Oh– and is it caloric? Yup, I’m sure it is, but if you just use it as a topping, you can justify that little luxury, can’t you?
This recipe will just about fill a quart jar of granola. Or put some in a zip-lock bag and take it with you on a road trip, on the plane or camping. Make a double batch and share with friends. You can easily adjust the nuts, seeds, spices and dried fruit to your taste (for example, I don’t use almonds as Steve is allergic to them; but hazelnuts or walnuts are great alternatives).
With this recipe and some fresh fruit, it just may be summer all year long!
Summer Morning Granola
- 2 1/2 cups oats (preferably organic)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon (more or less to your taste) cinnamon, or other spice (cardamom, ginger, etc.) or mixture
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup coarsely chopped nuts
- 2 to 4 Tablespoons seeds (sunflower, flax, sesame)
- 1/4 cup oil (I use grapeseed)
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 Tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- optional: dried fruit such as raisins, dried cranberries, dried apricots
Preheat oven to 325 degrees
Combine the oats, salt and spice(s) in a large bowl.
Stir in nuts and seeds to distribute.
In a small pan (or microwave bowl) combine oil and maple syrup and gently heat to warm. Add water and vanilla; whisk together and pour over the oat mixture.
Spread out the mixture evenly on a rimmed cookie sheet and bake for about 30 minutes or until a toasty golden brown. (It’s a good idea to check the mixture after 25 minutes.)
Let cool in the pan atop a rack, then add raisins or other dried fruit if desired. Store in a quart glass jar or other container.