As sad as I was to see her leave, I knew that Montana was a beautiful state full of mountains, and rivers, and...granola eaters?
During one of the first chats we had with each other after going our separate ways, I asked her how she liked Missoula, her college town. She responded promptly, saying, "I like it a lot, but you would love it, Eileen. It's just like Ojai; there are tons of hiking trails, the wilderness is gorgeous, the locals are very "granola eater-ish."
Until that moment, I hadn't really thought about my hometown as being unusually health conscious, or hippie-ish, but the more I looked at it with an outsider's perspective, I realized that it really is! I'm going to miss this little town a lot when I leave for the east coast.
So, this recipe is an ode to my Ojai roots, nuts and all!
You will need:
2 cups oats
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup shredded coconut
3 Tbs. unsalted butter
2/3 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt (not necessary if using salted butter)
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup dried currants
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
First, pre-heat oven to 375. Prepare a lipped baking sheet by both greasing it with butter and lining it with parchment paper (granola gets really sticky!). Place oats, almonds, sunflower seeds, and coconut on a different baking sheet and spread as thinly as possible for balanced toasting of ingredients. Place tray in oven. Once items are all golden brown in color (it took mine about 14 minutes), remove from oven, lower heat to 300 degrees and pour into a medium sized mixing bowl.
Next, place butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a sauce pan.
You can go ahead and toss in the dried fruit at this point.
Mix everything together.
Plop the whole granola blend onto the lined baking sheet and flatten it out into a square.
Now it's ready for the oven! Bake for about 30 minutes.
Once removed, let granola sit and solidify for about 2 hours so you'll be able to cut it into bars without having it fall apart.
I played around with shapes a little, but eventually found that squares worked best!
Adacpted from Ina Garten's recipe, found here.