muesli, my favorite way

mixture

1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons plain vegetable oil (such as canola or soybean)
large pinch coarse sea salt
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup rolled spelt flakes
1/2 cup rolled wheat flakes
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup natural, unsweetened wide-flake coconut

finish

2 tablespoons dried fruit (choose from diced apricots, pluots, or prunes; cherries; blueberries; raisins; or cranberries)

procedure

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Line a large rimmed sheet pan (measuring 13 by 18 inches) with ovenproof kitchen parchment paper. Film the surface with nonstick oil spray.

Place the honey, oil, and salt in a heavy, medium-size saucepan. Stir to combine. Set the saucepan over moderately high heat, bring to the simmer, and simmer for 1 minute.

In the meantime, toss the rolled oats, rolled spelt flakes, rolled wheat flakes, pumpkin seeds, cashews, and sunflower seeds in a large mixing bowl.

Remove the honey mixture from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Pour the honey mixture over the oat-nut-seed mixture and toss well.

Spoon the honeyed mixture onto the parchment paper-lined baking pan. Scatter the mixture to spread it out, using a palette knife or small offset metal spatula.

Bake the muesli mixture in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, then remove the baking pan from the oven and toss the mixture lightly, using a small offset metal spatula, and bake for 15 minutes longer. Remove the baking pan from the oven, scatter over the coconut and loosely integrate the coconut among the other ingredients, using a small offset metal spatula to toss the mixture. Continue baking the muesli for 15 minutes longer, or until all of the ingredients, including the coconut, are toasted and golden.

Cool the muesli in the pan on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Carefully sweep the mixture onto a clean, cool, and dry sheet pan. Place the baking pan on a cooling rack. Cool completely. De-clump the muesli, using your fingertips, as it sticks together in sections once cooled. Store the muesli in a tightly-covered glass jar or tin. Just before portioning out the cereal, sprinkle individual servings with dried fruit.

creates

about six cups

store

on baking day, or up to three weeks in advance, stored in a tightly-covered jar or tin

notes

◊ use a mild honey, such as clover
◊ use unsweetened, wide-flake coconut, rather than sweetened flaked coconut
◊ this recipe has been in the works for one year now, as I toyed with the type and amount of moistening needed to add a draw-you-in kind of sweetness and crackle (should it be a combination of honey and vegetable oil, or honey and butter, or honey and olive oil?)