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Homemade Granola, Yogurt & Pomegranate Seeds

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Homemade granola is just about perfect. You can make one or two baking sheets of it and it will sit patiently, and quite beautifully, in a jar on your counter for at least two weeks – but it will never stick around that long. It’s crunchy and sweet and buttery, and you’ll suddenly want to sprinkle it on everything. My favorite mid morning snack / lunch / after dinner dessert / late night snack is this granola recipe from ‘Nuts in the Kitchen’ by Susan Herrmann Loomis, stirred into plain yogurt. Recipe further below.

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If you keep a container of plain yogurt in your refrigerator, then you can mix it up whenever you need an energy boost. When I noticed this week that fresh pomegranates had arrived at the store, I scooped one up for the seeds, and their texture and tangy juice are a great addition. Incidentally, the trick to removing pomegranate seeds from the pulp & peel is simple: have a large bowl and wooden spoon handy, slice the whole fruit in half, invert the open half down into your upward facing palm, and with your hand & fruit over the bowl, beat the living daylights on the outside of the pomegranate with the wooden spoon. The seeds will loosen and fall through your fingers into the bowl catching the juices as well.

Crunchy Granola
from Nuts in the Kitchen, by Susan Herrmann Loomis
Yield 6 cups (two full baking sheets worth)
* Very easy to halve this recipe

I suggest a few alterations, as noted.

Ingredients:
1 cup (16T) unsalted butter
1/4 cup mild honey
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups rolled oats (or flakes made from other grains *not rice flakes)
1 cup unsweetened coconut ** K: do make the effort to find unsweetened, it’s more coconut-ty
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup sesame seeds ** K: make sure they are fresh and if you can find black sesame seeds, it’s nice variation to mix
1/3 cup raw almonds ** K: chop these a bit, and consider walnuts which are excellent (and a bit softer)

Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, aluminum foil or silpat.

2) Place butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. When it has melted enough to cover the bottom of the pan, add the honey and brown sugar and whisk occasionally as the butter melts. When it is fully melted, gently whisk in salt and vanilla. Remove from the heat.

3) Place the grains, coconut, seeds and nuts in a large bowl. Pour the sauce – it may still be very hot, which is fine – over the mixture. Toss until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined, then turn out the granola onto two baking sheets. Spread it out into an even layer and bake in the center of the oven, stirring occasionally, until the granola is golden, 20-25min. ** K: Check after 10 minutes and stir a bit – you will know when it’s ready by its golden color.

4) Remove from heat and let cool, then break up the clumps and transfer to airtight containers and store in a cool spot. The granola will keep well for about one month.

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