(Note to self: Insert witticism here regarding "food of pseudo-hippies everywhere." Be sure to segue into the actual recipe before all readers have fled.)
The point of granola is to prepare an instant food in bulk. Don't bother with a small, paltry batch; these directions make a lot of granola. I'm sure the recipe will scale down just fine, but I've never tried. What's the point? It keeps for weeks at room temperature.
Yeah, I know it's not in metric units. Suck it up, I thought I was doing pretty good to measure at all. If you require decimal numbers, check here.
Mix these in a Bowl of Enormous Proportions:
I'm still playing with the best piece size for the almonds. Lately I've been tossing them in whole or just chopping them in half, but you should cut them finer if you like smaller chunks or thin slices. Likewise, it should work to use coconut flakes instead of the shredded stuff— I've been meaning to play with that, so send me the report if you try it. This is also the time to add walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds or any other nutlike entity your sick little mind can devise.
Preheat the oven to 250 ° (...Fahrenheit, of course. Not in metric, I says!)
Combine these in a saucepan:
I use canola oil. Safflower is good, too, as is Mazola if you have nothing else. Put the pan over low heat and give it a few minutes to warm up. The idea here is just to warm everything so that the honey will flow freely and get absorbed by the oats, rather than try to mix a pile of cold, oily honey with a big bowl of dry grain. Don't wait for the stuff in your saucepan to boil (Honey scorches easily and you're losing vanilla flavor every minute as it evaporates), just get that honey runny, sonny!
Pour the oil, honey, salt and vanilla into the bowl of oats, and stir it all around until the oats are evenly coated and all the oil and honey are fully absorbed. It should be damp, but not wet.
Spread the granola in a large, flat pan or three. I like my two-inch–deep 12"x17" baking pan because it holds the whole batch at once, forming a layer deep enough that I can get away with checking on it less often. Cookie sheets work if you want to watch it closely while it bakes and have it get done fast, but an average-sized oven will only hold a couple of sheets at once. In the end it may take as long to fret over many small batches as to ignore one big one.
Put the granola in the oven and leave it there for a while, stirring it whenever you check its progress. How often to stir depends mostly on how thin a layer you've got; the thinner it's spread, the faster it bakes, and therefore the easier it is to burn it to a crisp. Using my thick-layer approach, I leave it in the oven for a couple of hours, stirring about every half-hour. When it's brown, crisp and toasty, it's done. When it turns black and catches fire, it's burnt. Don't feel bad, everybody does it.
Let the granola cool, then mix in:
The apricots should be cut to a size that pleases you, as should the dried banana, mango, apple, blueberry, kiwi or watermelon you use in combination or substitution.
Put it in away an airtight container and enjoy. I eat it with yogurt, soymilk and at least two kinds of fresh fruit on top. One bowl keeps me going through a full morning of physical labor, despite my usual appetite for three or four servings at every meal. Let no person say that hearty breakfasts must contain bacon!