Toasted Hazelnut Granola

I'm not a breakfast person. I never have been. I don't know if I ever will be. It's like being a morning person; you are or you are not. Maybe the two tie in together because I am certainly not a morning person. 

My breakfast is usually a big mug of tea. That's it. When I wake up, I never feel like eating. I might be hungry when I wake up, but for the first hour of being awake, I don't enjoy eating, no matter what it is. Crazy, right? After about an hour, I get ravenous. I mean, wolf down anything I can get my hands on. 

But even then, I still don't want breakfast food. I just don't enjoy most breakfast foods. I don't dislike them, but I will almost always go for a lunch or dinner food. A sandwich will always win out over scrambled eggs. Leftover pasta trumps cereal, any day. It's just how it is for me.

This is not very useful when I have to go places in the mornings. Seeing as I'm not a morning person, I'm not going to wake up an hour earlier just so I can wait to be hungry. I give myself the shortest amount of time possible to make myself presentable and get out the door. My breakfast will usually be a bowl of bland cereal or maybe porridge with a few heaping teaspoons of sugar. And while that normally gets me through the morning, after a while, it gets boring.

And that's what granola comes in! It's got a whole bunch of things going on at once. Nuts, seeds, oats, fruit! It adds crunchiness to yogurt or makes a nice little snack. It's good stuff.

When toasting the hazelnuts, don't toast them as much as you normally would because they go back in the oven with everything else and you don't want burnt hazelnuts. 

The great thing about granola is that you can toss in or take out just about anything. The original recipe called for sesame seeds, dried apricots, and dried cherries. I took those out and put in sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, raisins, and dried cranberries. You can pick and choose your favorite seeds, nuts, and fruit to make your own special granola. 

Recipe adapted from Dahlia Bakery Cookbook

Vegetable spray for greasing the baking pans
3 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup steel-cut oats
1/2 shredded sweetened coconut
1/2 cup hazelnuts
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup canola oil or other neutral tasting oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and bake for 4 minutes or so. You don't want to toast them completely because they will be going back in the oven. Leave the hazelnuts to cool completely, then skin them and chop them coarsely.

Turn the oven down to 300 degrees and spray two baking sheets with vegetable spray.

Combine the rolled oats, steel-cut oats, coconut, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds in a large bowl. Set aside.

In another bowl, combine the honey, brown sugar, granulated sugar, maple syrup, canola oil, orange juice, cinnamon, and vanilla. Whisk until combined.

Pour the honey mixture over the oat mixture and toss with a rubber spatula until everything is evenly coated. 

Divide the granola between the two baking sheets, creating a thin, even layer. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until everything is a dark golden brown. Every 15 minutes or so, stir the granola to make sure it browns evenly. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and let them cool completely.

Transfer the granola to a large bowl and stir in the raisins and dried cranberries. Store in airtight containers. If you wish to freeze it, transfer the granola to large resealable plastic bags and freeze.