Got a hankering for a trip to some exotic, tropical destination, you know, where the water's so clear and blue you can see smack dab to the bottom and where palm trees gently sway and dance in the balmy breezes? .............
.............. I'm with you, for sure! But I have the feeling that, for now, this South Seas Coconut Granola is about as close as I'm going to get when it comes to alluring, southern hemisphere destinations! It is quite delicious though and loaded with all sorts of fun tropical-inspired ingredients; dried bananas, pineapple and mango along with macadamia nuts and a double punch of coconut - coconut extract combined with the liquid ingredients and shredded coconut added to the oat mixture.
This granola freezes well; I usually keep a jar of it in the pantry and the rest in the freezer. When unthawed, you'll never know it was frozen. I normally make a double or triple batch, as it's not any extra work to make more, and that way I don't have to make it very often. This granola makes a lovely hostess gift in a pretty jar or fun bag. It is also great for a brunch or breakfast buffet paired with bowls of plain or vanilla yogurt and fresh fruit.
South Seas Coconut Granola
2¾ cups rolled oats, old fashioned
2-3 ounces roughly chopped macadamia nuts
½ cup sesame seeds
¼ cup flax seeds
½ cup sunflower seeds
½ cup shredded coconut
6 tablespoons pure maple syrup
6 tablespoons brown sugar
¼ cup canola oil
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 teaspoons coconut extract
1cup dried bananas
½ cup dried pineapple,
½ cup dried mango
1. Combine oats, macadamia nuts, seeds and coconut in a large bowl. In a medium size bowl combine maple syrup, brown sugar, oil, salt along with vanilla and coconut extracts. Stir well until most of the brown sugar is dissolved.
2. Pour liquid mixture over dry ingredients and stir until well combined. Spray large baking sheet lightly with cooking spray. Spread mixture our evenly onto pan and pat with the back of a spoon.
3. Bake at 225 degrees F for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until golden brown. Stir gently, just to loosen mixture from pan. Allow to cool then add dried fruit if using immediately. If making ahead of time, keep dried fruit separate from granola until just before serving as the moisture in the fruit can cause the granola to loose it's "crunch". Store in an airtight container or freeze.
Adapted from Bon Appetit