I make homemade granola quite frequently; we go through a lot of it in my home.
One thing I have noticed in the past is that when you bake granola with dried fruit in it, the fruit tends to get really hard. Crunchy oats are a good thing, but crunchy fruit? Not so much. Of course you could mix in the dried fruit after baking, but I decided to try something else this time: baking the granola at a very low temperature.
I’ve been wanting to make granola like this for a while because nutrients like enzymes are better preserved when they aren’t cooked over high heat. That’s why raw foods are good for you. This isn’t technically a “raw” granola, though; for it to be considered raw, it would have to be prepared in a dehydrator at 115°F….maybe I will try that next time.
I was happily surprised that when baked at 150°F for about eight hours (I baked it overnight), the dried fruit stayed tender, and the granola became pleasantly chewy (rather than super crisp). I love all the flavors in here and think they are terrific together, but feel free to swap out any of the elements as you see fit. You could use cashews, almonds, or walnuts, etc. instead of the pistachios and you could throw in raisins or whatever dried fruit you have on hand (use unsweetened, organic dried fruit with no preservatives, if possible) instead of the persimmon (I know it’s not easy to find). Organic coconut oil could be used instead of the olive oil and maple syrup could be used instead of the honey, if you prefer.
If you don’t want to spend hours baking your granola, then go ahead and bake it at 300°F for 30-40 minutes, stirring it mid-way through. You could also compromise and bake it at 200 or 250°F. I am not sure how long it would take- about 1.5-2 hours, I imagine- so do keep your eye on it.
Serve your granola with milk (I drink organic raw milk, but you can substitute your favorite milk alternative, if you like) or yogurt and fresh fruit, or eat alone as a snack.
Recipe for Olive Oil Granola with Dried Persimmon and Pistachios
Yield: about 8 cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
*3 1/2 cups organic rolled (not instant) oats (use certified gluten-free oats if you must avoid gluten)
*1 cup unsweetened, organic shredded coconut (I like the coconut from Bob's Red Mill brand)
*1/2 cup shelled pistachios, roughly chopped (preferably raw and unsalted)
*1/2 cup sesame seeds
*1/2 cup chopped, dried persimmon
*1 teaspoon fine sea salt (use less if your pistachios are salted)
*1 teaspoon cinnamon
*1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
*1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (you could probably get away with less, if you prefer)
*1/2 cup honey (or maple syrup; reduce to 1/4 cup for a less sweet granola)
1. Preheat oven to 150°F (if your oven can't be set that low, use the lowest setting possible). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Mix oats through ginger in a large bowl.
3. Warm the olive oil with the honey over very low heat. Stir to combine, then pour over the dry mixture and mix thoroughly. Spread the granola evenly over the two pans.
4. Bake for 8 hours, or until the granola is golden brown and done to your liking (alternatively, you can bake it at 300°F for 30-40 minutes). You can keep this in an airtight container at room temperature for several weeks; place in the refrigerator or freezer for longer term storage.
Adapted from Saveur Magazine
More granola recipes for your reading pleasure:
Really Healthy Granola from Organic Spark
Pistachio Sesame Seed Granola from In Jennie’s Kitchen
Best Homemade Granola from Kiss My Spatula