Mango Papaya Granola

 

Granola is a wonderful thing.  For some reason I feel very classy eating granola with yogurt and fruit.  I think it all goes back to Uganda and the Peace Corps.  In my little town the options for eating “Western” foods was severely limited.  Sure there were local eateries claiming to have “American” food, but that typically consisted of some sort of “cheese” melted between two slices of dry, white bread or a mysterious “meat” patty between two slices of bread.

But there was one place, one oasis in my American Food desert.  UCC – Uganda Child Care.  No, not a daycare, but a charity run by a group of Danish (?) people who served absolutely AMAZING food!  Cheeseburgers (with real cheese!), pasta, grilled cheese (and they didn’t even judge when I asked for it with pickles), fruit salad with chunks of chocolate, ice cream (!), and yogurt with granola.  And once a month: a cookout!

 

 

And thus, the glory of yogurt, fruit and granola came to be.  It was pretty darn fancy for my life back then.  A bright spot on a dark and dreary day.  The type of pick-me-up I needed when all my plans that day fell through.

For 14,000 Uganda Shillings (around $7.00 US) I could be the proud owner of bowl of yogurt with crunchy granola (sugar packets too, please!) and one bowl of fruit with chocolate chunks.  One spoonful of yogurt/granola with one spoonful of fruit?  Heaven.  Absolute heaven.

 

 

I give you Granola: with mangoes and papaya.

A nod to my former home.

 

 

Granola
From Smitten Kitchen

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant oats)
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup green (hulled) pumpkin seeds, sometimes called pepitas, not roasted
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup mild honey
Pinch cinnamon
Pinch salt
2 3/4 cups mixed dried fruit of your choice (I used mango and papaya, but any dried fruit would be wonderful)

Preheat oven to 375 with the rack in the middle .

Stir together all the ingredients, except the dried fruit, until combined.  Evenly spread the mixture on a large, shallow baking pan, or rimmed cookie sheet, lined with parchment paper.  Bake, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 20-35 minutes.  Begin checking the granola every five minutes after the 15-minute mark because the granola has a tendency to burn quickly.  Smitten’s recipe says to cook it for 30 minutes, but mine was done at around 23.

Transfer the granola, still in the pan, to a rack to cool for 45 minutes.  Stir occasionally.  This is the step which gives the granola its typical clusters, so be careful not to stir too enthusiastically and break up the clusters.

Stir in dried fruit.

Keep the granola in an airtight container, frozen, for up to a few months.  The fruit can cause the granola to soften if kept at room temperature.

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