Yields: approx. 6 cups • a serving size is 2-4 tablespoons
- 4 cups large flakes rolled oats (I mix the medium and large ones together)
- 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped nuts and seeds (any combination of almonds, pecans, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, etc.)
- 1/2 cup apple juice (no one drinks apple juice, so I buy the small juice boxes)
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tbs. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- A pinch of ground cloves (optional)
- 1 tsp. fine sea salt
- 1/2 cup mixed dried fruit (You can use any combination of your favorites! Simply add the mixed dried fruit at the end, when the granola is taken out of the oven)
Preheat oven to 325°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the oats with the chopped nuts and seeds. I used 1/2 cup each of chopped walnuts, pumpkin seeds and chopped almonds.
In a small saucepan, combine the apple juice, maple syrup, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, cinnamon, ground cloves and salt. Heat on low and use a whisk to stir the ingredients together. When warm and everything is combined, remove from heat. Pour the mixture over the oats and nuts and stir until well combined. If you find that the mixture is too 'wet', add some more rolled oats.
Spread the mixture in a single layer over each of the lined baking sheets. Make sure that it is just one layer-if there is too much piled onto the baking sheet, the granola won't be able to get crunchy.
Place the baking sheets on the middle and bottom racks. Bake for about 40 minutes, stirring every 12-15 minutes to make sure it all browns evenly. Every oven is different, it may take only 30-35 minutes to bake in total! I change the location of the trays from the middle to the bottom halfway.
When the granola is an even golden brown, remove from the oven and add any the dried fruit at this time. I use dried cranberries, apricots and coconut. Stir to combine and let cool before storing it in an airtight container.