When someone says "granola" it conjures up images of a wholesome high-fiber breakfast cereal that's widely considered healthy. The reality is that most store bought granola is loaded with sugar and fat and costs a fortune to boot.
This version uses unprocessed rolled oats, wheat germ and grade B maple syrup as the sweetener. It's probably not the healthiest cereal in the world, but it should be better for you that most store bought granolas. It's also a bit on the expensive side the first time you make it because of the cherries, almonds, and wheat germ, but you should be able to make 3 or 4 batches out the ingredients you pick up.
This granola goes beyond just crunchy and is almost crispy. The vanilla and maple flavours really shine through and the little bites of cherry add some chewy fruity tartness that sets it apart. I had been enjoying the first batch I made for for a while but I didn't realize just how good it tasted until I went in to work one morning, opened a new package of "gourmet" granola and poured myself a bowl. I've always liked the granola they have at work, but even a new pack was stale by comparison and it had a faint aroma of cardboard.
You could substitute the almonds, cherries and vanilla and using a different sweetener should give it a different character as well.
- Heat oven to 275 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper.
- Add the oats, wheat germ, almonds and coconut to a large bowl.
- Microwave the butter and brown sugar until the butter is melted. Add the maple syrup and vanilla and stir to combine. Dump this into the dry ingredients and mix until well combined and the granola starts to clump together.
- Spread the mixture evenly over the lined baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.
- Stir, breaking up any large clusters of granola and add the cherries. Return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes or until the granola is golden brown.