My first night on the road was spent with my friend (and former volleyball coach), Kerstyn in Corona del Mar, CA. I walked down her lane to her front door, and could already smell the wonderful wafting of this granola as it filled the evening air outside. It was heavenly. She knew I needed something clean and healthy for the road and thoughtfully made a double batch for me to take along with me--even though she was leaving at 5am the next day for her own journey to Peru. I couldn't have asked for a better way to kick off my road trip than with her.
I'd just finished packing up the last of all my belongings into my 5'x10' storage space up in Santa Barbara, and I chowed down on the warm granola as it came out of the oven. Without any further adieu, here's the recipe hot off the... her text to me:
- 4 cups rolled oats
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup dried fruit (Kerstyn used Craisins, but any dried fruit will suffice)
- 1/4 cup coconut flakes (Kerstyn didn't use these, but that was fine with me)
- 1 cup nuts
- 5 tablespoons melted coconut oil or olive oil (we found you don't actually need this, if you don't have it. It still turns out ok)
- 1 tsp real vanilla
- 1/3 – 1/2 cup real maple syrup or honey (I go with 1/3 cup, but I like a lightly sweetened flavor)
- 2 egg whites, lightly beaten (<--the key to clumpy granola)[/box]
- Preheat oven to 300°
- Mix together: oats, cinnamon, salt, fruit and nuts in a big bowl.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together maple syrup, oil, egg whites, vanilla, and salt until smooth.
- Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir, making sure all dry ingredients are well coated. Split mixture between two oiled baking sheets. Spread evenly and press down firmly into a thin “donut” shaped single layer with a spatula. (This prevents an uncooked middle.)
- Bake in preheated oven for 25-35 minutes until granola is golden brown and crisp at the edges. Do not stir while baking. Allow to cool for 15 minutes on baking sheet before breaking into lovely, clumpy, clusters.
- Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks, if it lasts that long.