Chai Spiced Granola

I really like tea-flavored things, like those Chinese Tea Eggs. I especially like things that are chai-infused, like the Chai Spiced Pancakes. So why not give it a go with granola, hmm?
 If you're expecting to make these and eat crunchy chai tea, then you're mistaken. It just uses the same spices that chai does: creating a warm, nestling food that's good to eat while wearing orange and knit scarves.
Well, it's good any time of the year. I love granola so much. This summer I went to a program that was at a college and I basically lived off of clif bars and the bag of granola my step mother gave to me. College cafeterias suck. But Chai Granola rocks. And, as with any granola recipe, you ca switch up the nuts/dried/fruit/add-ins as you like. Enjoy!

Chai Spiced Granola
about 8 cups
adapted from Wonderful Joy Ahead

3 cups old fashioned oats
1/3 cup canola or other neutral oil
1/2 cup almonds (preferably slivered)
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp flax seeds
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup sunflower seeds, unsalted
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup turbinado sugar
2 tbsp water
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/3 cup dried cranberries

Preheat your oven to 325 F, and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large skillet over medium heat, lightly toast the almonds and walnuts, stirring every minute or so until you can start to smell them (about 2-3 minutes). Stir in the pumpkin seeds, oats, and oil; continue to toast and stir every minute or so until the oats start to get some color (about 4-6 minutes).

Turn off the heat and add the flax, salt, and wheat germ.

Temporarily empty the oats into a bowl. Add to the skillet the honey, sugar, approximately 2 tablespoons of water, cinnamon, salt, cardamom, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, and pepper. Heat over medium until the sugar is dissolved. Add the honey mixture to the bowl and mix until incorporated.

Spread evenly over the parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for about 15-20 minutes, stirring halfway through. Remove from the oven when the granola is turning golden brown.

Stir in the coconut and dried fruit. Depending on the size of your baking sheet, you'll need to either spread it out or compact it together to form a 1/2 inch thick granola slab. Let it cool completely. Break into pieces and store in an air-tight container for about a week or two, if there's any left by then.

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