Hi everyone! It’s the start of a brand new week, and I know we are right in the thick of the summer season. A big part of the summer, at least in Canada, is road trips. Road trips are those really great holidays where you get a load of friends into a car with pillows, a map and a plan (or at least a direction), and you drive somewhere special. (Anything less than a 6 hour drive does not count as a road trip).
If you’re trying to minimize fake food in your life, a road trip can be a challenge and a half. When there are gas stations and fast food highway markers as far as the eye can see, you might be tempted to resign yourself to eating weirdly colored chip-type things or dried meat (these can be alright as a rare treat). But I know for myself that after the first rest stop, I’m usually ready for some “real” food. This granola is a great way to combine foods that travel well with foods that are full of good things for you.
And don’t let the average granola fool you. The package might read “granola”, but the ingredients read “nuts, chocolate, refined sugar, glucose syrup, preservatives”. It can be disheartening to find that “granola” is often just a processed cookie in disguise.
I wanted to set out to craft a travel granola that could stand alone (I will happily eat this granola straight from the bag), cut out the refined and processed things, and was easy to make (I don’t want to be measuring 20 different things and making 6 separate trips to the store because I don’t have something on hand. I don’t enjoy when that happens). I think that this granola meets all of the above criteria. It has only a handful of ingredients but is hearty and full of good things.
Pack it up in a baggie, and it will happily carry you through those long legs of a trip away from the city.
Whether you’re heading to the beach, the cottage, the office, or just to run some errands around town, these lightly sweet clusters are readily at hand. (They also don’t go to pieces in your bag, which was a necessity).
If you’ve never attempted at-home granola making, this is the recipe for you as well. It’s straightforward, simple, and the results are encouraging. Summer is a time to take chances and risk being called a hippie by your friends for making your own granola. (At least you’re not dressing all in hemp fabric and spinning wool from your urban sheep farm on your rooftop) 😉 (If you are doing that, I’d like to hear how that is going).
Lovely Honeyed Date Road-trip Granola Clusters
Makes: 1 pan
- 9 Medjool dates (pitted)
- 4 tbsp honey
- 3/4 C water
- 1 3/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1 pinch of nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 C golden raisins
- 1 tbsp flax-seed meal
- 1/4 C sunflower seeds
- 3/4 C unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1 1/2 C rolled oats (use gluten-free oats if desired)
- Preheat the oven to 275F.
- Line an edged baking pan with parchment paper.
- Add to a small saucepan the dates, honey and water. Simmer this mixture over medium heat until the dates are very soft and the liquid has been evaporated. (8-10 minutes).
- Allow the pot to cool for approx. 5 minutes.
- Using a hand blender or masher (depending on how smooth you’d like the final mixture), blend the contents of the pot together until all the lumps are removed and it is thoroughly combined.
- Scoop the contents of the pot out into a large mixing bowl.
- Stir the cinnamon, nutmeg and salt into the wet ingredients.
- Stir in the remainder of the ingredients, combining until all of the components are thoroughly distributed. The mixture will be fairly sticky and should have formed larger clusters. If any appear too large, gently break them apart with a wooden spoon or spatula.
- Spread the granola evenly onto the parchment-lined pan, and bake for 40-45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes or so, to ensure that the granola cooks evenly on all sides. (Note: Check the granola carefully near the end of the cooking time, as the raisins will become bitter if they get overcooked).
- Allow the granola to cool in the pan for several minutes before moving it to a storage container. Ensure that the granola is fully cooled prior to storing in an airtight container.
I hope you try this recipe! Tweet me, comment on the Facebook page, or in the comments below let me know how it turned out for you. Also, don’t forget to your summer appointments. Check back soon to see some updates to the site, and some things I know you’ll be excited to see!
Take care, and have a great day!
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