I adapted this recipe from one that appeared on Martha Stewart's website some time back. The original recipe appealed to me because it combines stovetop granola and oven-baked granola. I like the clump factor of stovetop and the crunch of oven-baked, so this recipe happens to be the perfect combination of the two. I changed up many of the ingredients called for in the original recipe, and the result was wonderful, so have no fear if you want to experiment!
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup light-brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (or 1 teaspoon of that magical thick Ecuadorian variety)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup water
4 1/2 cups oats
1 cup ground flax
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup chopped dates
The original recipe called for a 1/2 cup wheat germ and a 1/2 cup bran instead of the flax I used. I'm not against wheat germ and bran, but I really like the taste of flax--and it functions in much the same way. The original recipe also called for 1 cup raw cashews and 1 cup raw almonds, neither of which I had at the time. I subsituted 1 cup of chopped walnuts, which I really like the flavor of. Lastly, the original recipe called for 2/3 cup dried cherries and 2/3 cup golden raisins, neither of which I like. I used chopped dates, and I certainly would have added craisins (which I love) too, had I not been trying to finish off the rest of my dates.
1. Preheat oven to 250°F.
2. Melt butter in a large saucepan or pot over medium-low heat. Add sugar and cook until melted.
3. Stir honey, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, and water into the pot. Remove from heat.
4. Add remaining ingredients, except your fruit, and mix thoroughly--until the oats have all turned golden from the liquid mixture and are clumping together.
5. Spread your oat mixture out in a single layer on one or two rimmed baking sheets.
6. Bake, stirring every twenty minutes or so, until golden brown (about 1 1/2 hours). I took mine out while there was still some "give" to the granola, a little moisture, since I like my granola not to cause jaw damage from being burnt or overly crunchy.
7. Let granola cool on sheets before adding dried fruits. Mix thoroughly.
8. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.