Mushy strawberries. Bananas gone brown. A pantry full of 3/4 empty bags of nuts, dried coconut, rolled oats, candied ginger, and big ol' jug of honey. What to do with all these random odds and ends?
Make a big batch of granola. You heard me-- All of these ingredients can be tossed together, thrown in the oven and baked to golden perfection. Then they can be put in Ziplock bags and left in the pantry for up to a month, or kept in the freezer for even longer. They can also be used to fill mason jars, and given as gifts. The best part is that your house will smell like toasted oats and honey for days.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about this particular granola is the use of fruit puree: It not only sweetens and flavors the granola, but the moisture also helps to make it stick together. So the next time you find yourself with rotting bananas, know that you're not necessarily confined to baking banana bread.
This also works with peaches, pears, and just about any fruit. In fact, there was a recipe by Nigella Lawson that sparked a granola with fruit puree craze in the blogosphere a couple of years ago, and the original apparently used applesauce.
The following recipe is basically a hodge podge of random ingredients that I needed to use up before leaving for Brazil. So you can see how adaptable this template is: No need to go out and buy things that you don't have; substitute to your heart's content. Just watch the ratios of dry ingredients to wet, and adjust the amount of sweetness to your liking.
Floor Sweep Granola
5 cups rolled oats
3 cups chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds)
1 cup dried, unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup uncooked amaranth
1/2 cup candied ginger, diced
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup strawberry puree (made in a blender)
1/2 cup banana puree (about one large banana)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons coconut cream (substitute coconut oil or any other oil)
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
- Heat the wet ingredients in a small saucepan.
- Combine the dry ingredients with the wet.
- Spread the granola over two baking sheets or jelly roll pans.
- Bake for 45 minutes to one hour, stirring every 10 minutes or so to prevent the bottom from burning.
- Allow the granola to cool at least 10 minutes--It will continue to crispen.