Spring has sprung and what a great time to get outdoors. Trail mix is always a must and I’ve tried many variations over the years since I was raised on GORP (Granola, Oats, Raisins and Peanuts) with M&Ms, of course! Here is a recipe I found that is delicious, somewhat healthy and not overly sweet. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do — it’s great alone or my favorite with yogurt. It’s so easy to make, but be careful it is very addicting! Happy Spring!
4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (I like Bob’s Red Mill Extra Thick)
1 1/2 cup raw nuts and/or seeds (I used 1 cup pecans and 1/2 cup pepitas)
1 tsp fine-grain sea salt (if you’re using standard table salt, scale back to 3/4 teaspoon)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (I doubled this because I love cinnamon.)
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1/2 cup pure maple syrup or honey (I prefer maple syrup)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup dried fruit, chopped if large (I used dried cranberries)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a large, rimmed baking sheet (jelly roll pan) with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, nuts and/or seeds, salt and cinnamon. Stir to blend.
Pour in the oil, maple syrup or honey and vanilla. Mix well, until every oat and nut is lightly coated. Pour the granola onto your prepared pan and use a large spoon to spread it in an even layer.
Bake until lightly golden, about 20-25 minutes, stirring halfway (for extra-clumpy granola, press the stirred granola down with your spatula to create a more even layer). The granola will further crisp up as it cools. (Make sure to only stir once if you want clumpy granola.)
Let the granola cool completely, undisturbed (at least 45 minutes — I let it sit overnight). Top with the dried fruit. Break the granola into pieces with your hands if you want to retain big chunks, or stir it around with a spoon if you don’t want extra-clumpy granola.
Store the granola in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 to 2 weeks, or in a sealed freezer bag in the freezer for up to 3 months. The dried fruit can freeze solid, so let it warm to room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
Recipe Author: Cookie and Kate