Vanilla Lavender Granola

I don't think that there has ever been a recipe that I have made as much as the granola from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook. After making it for the first time I knew that it was something special and I would probably never purchase store-bought granola again. Not only did I love having it on hand for myself and my yogurt but everyone I shared it with loved it and I loved sharing it. 

I had been experimenting by switching out some of the ingredients in the traditional recipe, like pecans and almonds rather than walnuts and various dried fruits. When making the granola this week I wanted to try something new so I threw some fresh lavender and a heaping tablespoon of vanilla extract. I love the taste that the lavender adds to the granola and the vanilla adds the perfect yet subtle touch of sweetness. 

What You Need
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant!)
1 cup unsweetened shredded or flaked coconut
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped (or any type of nut)
1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup maple syrup (or more if you prefer a sweeter granola)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 large egg white
2 tablespoons lavender, finely diced
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

What You Do
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
2. Combine all ingredients but the egg white in a large bowl, tossing to coat evenly.
3. Whisk the egg white in a small bowl until frothy. 
4. Stir into the granola mixture.
5. Spread it in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
6. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes. About halfway through, gently stir the granola, carefully turning the granola, breaking it as little as possible. 
7. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and onto a cooling rack until cooled.
8. Break up into whatever size clusters you would like and enjoy!

Many more variations to come!

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