All right, I know that title doesn’t make much sense, but it’s late and I’m tired. Also, I wanted to get this posted earlier today, but ran out of time. It’s a recipe that I pulled together from many different sources, all in a continuing quest to imitate one of my favorite breakfast foods- a very specific kind of granola called Love Crunch. Perhaps you have seen it. It only shows it’s face around this time of year and it looks like this-
Perhaps you have also seen the price tag for one tiny bag, making it definitely a one time a year treat. Well, I challenged myself a while back to see if I couldn’t come up with my own version of the stuff to enjoy year round at a fraction of the cost. And I must say, I have come pretty close. If your interested, here’s what you need-
The sun is a little bright here, but I used two 6 0z. bags of almonds (one slivered and one sliced) about a cup of walnuts, and about half a bag of those fancy freeze dried strawberries. I forgot to put the dark chocolate in this picture, but I used about four ounces of good quality dark chocolate (chocolate chips work fine).
Combine your oats (about ten cups) with all of your nuts. I know this might seem a little pricey with all those nuts, but it makes so much more granola than those store bought boxes.
Now for the coating-
Now I’ve played around with amounts here a good deal. Sometimes I use all honey and no sugar, but the honey tends to overwhelm the chocolate flavor. So normally I do about half of each sweetener. To make it easier to remember, I use half a cup of everything here-
Oil (I used a light flavored olive oil and it worked great)
Also a splash of vanilla and a hefty pinch of salt
Just put everything into a medium sized saucepan-
Turn the stove to medium high, and let it all come to a boil, stirring frequently-
Once that is done, just pour it over your oats in the bowl-
And start stirring-
and keep on stirring until everything is evenly coated.
Since this is such a large batch (you can always halve it of course, if you aren’t feeding seven) I need to use two sheet pans to bake it. I use these, with silpat mats for easier cleanup. The silpat isn’t necessary, but parchment paper might be nice.
Now divvy up the goodies.
And into the oven it goes at around 325 degrees. This does take a little while to bake- about an hour, and you will need to stir it around occasionally. If you are using two sheet pans, be sure to let them trade places about half way through.
You will know it’s done when the nuts start smelling toasted and it starts turning a nice golden brown. If you aren’t sure, just fish out a sample, let it cool and taste it. It should be nice and crunchy. Let the pans cool while you do this last step.
You don’t have to use freeze dried berries here, but I find they add such a nice strawberry flavor, and I am not a big fan of chewy things in my granola like raisins or cranberries. But do whatever you like. Granola is super flexible. But you have to have the chocolate in here, or it wouldn’t be that different from other granolas. (I used the special almond chocolate for and extra Valentine’s treat) Just give all this a rough chop, unless you are using chocolate chips. In that case, just the strawberries.
So here is the nicely baked granola, which is really quite delicious in itself-
But these last two ingredients really take it over the top, both in looks and taste.
Once it has fully cooled, store it in an airtight container. I filled up two and a half of these. Not bad!
It should keep good for several weeks if it lasts that long. It sure doesn’t around here!
So enjoy and happy Valentine’s day!