It was the last century when our family first visited Victoria, BC.  Throughout that trans-Western-Canada trek - working with the theory "Who knows if we'll ever get to come back" - we tried to squeeze in as many experiences as possible. In Victoria, that meant that we went to High Tea at the Empress Hotel with two little boys. I recall glances from fine ladies worried that we'd ruin their afternoon, but the young-uns were angels. Who could have foreseen that son #1 's love and marriage would make Victoria part of the fabric of our lives. The threads woven into that fabric have included love and laughter, and many ideas about healthy living and eating - and an introduction to Rebar - the resto and cookbook.  Kind of funny that the founders of Rebar came north of the 49th from Portland, now iconic in the food scene.

This Granola (directly from Rebar: Modern Food Cookbook with modification tips under Notes) has come out of my kitchen countless times, been shared with many, and has traveled well in parcels to faraway places. It is a forgiving recipe, with many variations. Note that it results in a "loose" granola rather than one with hard clumps - but that's the way I like it.

Granola with hazelnuts and pistachios

Granola with hazelnuts and pistachios

3 cups (720 mL) large flake oats
1 1/2 cups (360 mL) barley flakes
1/2 cup (120 mL) oat bran
1 cup (240 mL) unsweetened coconut
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup (240 mL) skinned hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup (120 mL) pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup (120 mL) sunflower seeds

In a large bowl combine the first eight ingredients.

1/2 cup (120 mL) vegetable oil
1/4 cup (60 mL) water
2/3 cup (160 mL) maple syrup (or honey, or combination)
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla

In a smaller bowl, whisk together the water, oil, maple syrup, and vanilla. Combine the wet and dry mixes and stir thoroughly. (Dried fruit goes in AFTER the bake period.) Spread the mixture out onto two baking sheets or do it in two batches. Bake at 250 F for 20 to 30 minutes (or more - see Tips). Stir the mixture every 10 minutes to ensure even baking and remove from the oven when golden brown.

1/2 - 1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dried blueberries

Cool and stir in the dried fruit. Seal and store for up to one month.

Others seed/nut/fruit combinations: 1) almonds, wheatgerm, dried cherries; 2) pecans, flaxseeds, dried mango; 3) walnuts, dried apricots, and figs

Notes and Tips...

  • Large Flake Oats - aka Quaker rolled oats
  • Barley Flakes - I have never found / used barley flakes - though I guess health food stores would have them - instead I always use bran flakes - also healthy I assume
  • Hazelnuts - I do love hazelnuts, but am not always in the mood to go through the process of removing the skins; skinless ones can sometimes be found in bulk stores; I often use roasted, non-salted, skin-on almonds; arguably a nicer taste with the toasted hazelnuts; the photo reflects that I have even added pistachios at times, and sometimes use two nuts to make up the required 1 cup
  • Pumpkin Seeds / Pepita - I use roasted pumpkin seeds rather than "raw"
  • Mixing bowl - be prepared to use the largest bowl in the kitchen for mixing
  • Maple Syrup - I prefer that to honey, but either works
  • Baking sheets - use rimmed baking sheets, lined with non-stick aluminum foil
  • Dried fruit - note that dried fruit is added after the baking - once I accidentally added them before baking - no harm done
  • Baking time - I bake this longer than 20-30 minutes. Depends on one's oven, but in my case it is never as brown / tasty as I want it until closer to 50-60 minutes. Individual preference. Note, once browned to satisfaction, it will still seem a bit "wet" and does not properly "crisp up" until cool.
  • Triple H Days - as in hot, hazy and humid. Granola is great in the summer, but there are times when my lovely crisp granola becomes "soft". I spread it out on a baking sheet and pop it back in a 250 F oven for about twenty minutes. I turn off the oven and let the granola cool completely while still in the oven. Then I store it in an airtight container. Rescued!
  • Variations - Note that the recipe includes variation suggestions - and there are really no rules about the combos as long as the ratio of dry to wet stays the same. I am always shocked to see the high cost of granola in stores, and twitch at the thought of how much I could make selling this. I recently met a woman (who had not heard of Rebar) but was offering samples of her home made granola called Georgian Bay Granola. A good product for those not inspired to make their own - and/or inspired by her flavour combos.
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