I love granola, but I'll admit that I am extremely picky. I've tried so many store-bought granolas, hoping that one of them will satisfy my craving. But nope! They just won't do it for me. So, I gave up and stopped buying granola. But then a friend shared some of his Flaxseed Granola from the bakery section of Whole Foods... and oh my goodness was it addictive! It was rich, but not overly sweet, had wonderfully crunchy clusters, and no preservatives. Preservatives just taste funky, you know? So all was well in the world because I had found the perfect granola... until I realized that on a college student's budget... granola from the Whole Foods bakery might not be the best idea every week! So, I decided to try to replicate it. I haven't actually bought it again to taste test side-by-side, but I've definitely found my granola to be just as addictive as the Flaxseed Granola, so I think that alone indicates that it must be just as delicious!

clustered granola

2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup pepitas
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, optional
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar (or substitute with honey!)
2 tablespoons flaxseed
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup dried cherries or cranberries (if desired!)

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Combine the oats, pecans, almonds, pepitas, and coconut (if using) in a large bowl. Melt the butter over medium heat with the maple syrup and brown sugar (or honey) until completely melted and the mixture starts to bubble. Stir in the flaxseed, chia seed, salt, and cinnamon until combined. Then pour the butter mixture over your oat mixture and mix well to combine. Distribute the granola mixture in a single layer on two 9X13 parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake for 45 minutes, turning over sections of the granola every 15 minutes for even baking. Before the last 15 minutes of baking, add the dried cherries or cranberries and gently combine with the oats as you flip the granola. When the granola is golden brown (and smells deeeeeelicious!), transfer the pan from the oven to a cooling rack. Let the granola cool completely before transferring or nibbling! This is how you get clustered granola! You have to let it cool completely so that the oats bind and cool clustered. It's hard because it'll smell so good! But resist the temptation and you'll be happy you did:) Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks or in the freezer for up to a month! If you can hold onto it so long:) Mine lasts about two days haha. 

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