I think some things are just better when you slow them down.
Thinking of food, imagine savoring slow braised short ribs, or smelling the aromas from a pot of spicy chili that has been simmering away on the stove all day... But the beauty of taking things a little slower is not just restricted to the kitchen - I love spending a long afternoon just walking around in the park, or lingering over my morning latte on the weekends. With those sorts of things, it is easy for me to be lazy and enjoy them, but other times I have to remind myself to take it slow. For instance, when I am reading a good book, I just race through it as though I have no discipline to tell myself to put it down and do other things, like you know, eat and sleep. Many times, it is easy to just run through life at a breakneck pace, but then you end up missing out on so many little things.
So when I saw a recipe for slow-roasted granola on Healthy Green Kitchen, I loved it not only for the practical reasons for slow roasting (keeping the dried fruit soft), but also because it was the perfect recipe to make over a long relaxing weekend. Having just come back from camping in Sequoia, I was really excited about making something healthy that also keeps well and is perfect for snacking.
The original recipe that I saw on Winnie's site was a slow roasted granola sweetened with honey, and with bits of dried persimmon and crunchy pistachios. Now while I adore both persimmons and pistachios, I know someone (ie. the best sister ever) that really loves cranberry and coconut, so I decided to switch up the flavors to make something for her.
To round out the oats, dried cranberries, and coconut, I also added sesame seeds and flaxseeds - super simple, but super healthy. And then comes the best part of the recipe - just toss everything together, and let it all slow roast in the oven. And when you slow roast, all you need to do is turn on the oven as low as it will go (usually around 175 degrees Fahrenheit), and then put the granola in there for about 8 hours to dry it out.
Sticky and lightly sweet ingredients before roasting...
Just-crunchy-enough granola after roasting....
Since the temperature is low for roasting the granola, you don't end up with super hard dried fruit. For me, when I am eating granola and the dried fruit feels more like a rock than something edible, all I want to do is pick it out; in this granola, the cranberries are just soft enough, making them one of my favorite parts. Plus I also really love the sesame seeds and the flaxseeds because they provide that tiny little textural element that is altogether different from the oats, the coconut, or the cranberries.
Once I had the granola in-house, I couldn't help but eat it for breakfast... then snack on it at lunchtime... and before I knew it, the first batch was almost all gone. Since I had originally planned to make this granola as a care package for some to family members, I happily made a second batch.
But wouldn't you know it - during one of those long, slow, relaxing afternoons I managed to eat half of the granola again! For snacking, it truly is irresistible. When all was said and done, I had just enough left to put the remaining granola in some mason jars to take home to when I visited my parents in Ohio.
Well, I suppose I will have to just make a third batch, because now that I have have tasted it, I know my sister will definitely love it. It seems another lazy day of slow roasting is in order... maybe this time I should just double the recipe.
You might also like: Peanut Butter and Oat Energy Bites (everyone loves these!), or Simple Oat and Brown Sugar Scones
One year ago: A Luxury Dinner, with Lemon, Leeks, and Lamb (the Cauliflower Soup recipe is one of my favorites)
Slow Roasted Cranberry Coconut Granola
Adapted from and inspired by Olive Oil Granola from Healthy Green Kitchen, and Pistachio Coconut Granola from Saveur
3 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2-1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup flaxseeds
1 cup (or more if desired) chopped dried cranberries1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp all-spice
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup honey
Preheat oven to 175 degrees Fahrenheit, or the lowest setting your oven can hold temperature. Prepare two baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except for the olive oil and honey. Mix the well so everything is evenly distributed. In a separate medium microwave-safe bowl, combine the olive oil and the honey, and microwave them for just a few minutes until the oil and honey are warm (start with 30 seconds, then stir, then microwave again until everything is warm). Whisk them to combine, then pour the entire mixture over the oats and fruit in the large bowl. Mix well so that all the dry ingredients are coated with the honey and oil.
Spread the oat mixture out evenly on the parchment-lined baking sheet, then bake for approximately 8 hours (adjust time depending on what your oven is set at). This is easy to do by roasting overnight if you like, or all day on a Saturday or Sunday. You can also bake for less time by increasing the temperature - for instance, the original Saveur recipe suggests baking at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for about a half an hour.
When baked at this low temperature, the granola will not get to be a dark brown - it will just barely be a golden color. Once it is done, let it completely cool, then break up any large clumps with your hands. Granola will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks. Eat with milk, yogurt, with fruit, for for a snack.