When I was growing up my mom made just about everything from scratch. Now while she certainly liked cooking and baking, a lot of her resourcefulness was because we lived out in the middle of nowhere. If we ran out of something, there was no simple way to just pick up another on your way home. I grew up with a LOVE of all things homemade, especially granola. But over the years, despite my many attempts to recreate the favorite of my mother’s recipes (which she no longer remembers, darn it), I have never even come close. Until today! This recipe is so darn good, that even my son, who hates nuts, revised his opinion and said he hates them except in this recipe. I am drooling over it even now, and I just finished a bowl as a late night snack. Pathetic, I know…
from Cooking with Paula Deen March/April 2010
6 c. regular oats
3 c. sliced almonds (I used pecans cause that’s what I had on hand)
1 (7.25 oz.) jar of salted, dry-toasted sunflower kernels
1/2 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 c. honey
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
1 (12 oz) bag sweetened dried cranberries (I used orange Craisins because they’re my favorite)
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
In a large roasting pan, combine oats, almonds, and sunflower kernels.
In a small saucepan, combine brown sugar, honey, oil, vanilla, and salt. Cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes until sugar is dissolved. Pour sugar blend evenly over oat mixture, tossing gently to coat. If it seems dry at this point it’s ok – the mixture will distribute better once the oat mixture gets into the oven. The first time you stir it, everything will blend much better. Bake 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and stir in the cranberries while the mixture is still warm. Keep flat, and cool completely, stirring a couple of times to break the mixture up. Store in an airtight container up to 1 month.