Toasted Vanilla Bean Muesli

makes 4 cups

made on Tuesday, January 3, 2011—day 148

Feel free to make this based on what you have on hand or like. Swap in an equal amount of your favorite nut or seed for the pumpkin seeds, and same goes for the raisins. Next time, I plan on adding a tablespoon of flax seed too, and sesame seeds would no doubt add a nice crunch.

Oh, if you wondering how muesli is different from granola, it wasn't obvious to me at first either. Then I realized a key difference is sweetener. Granola is usually sweetened with syrup, honey or sugar. Muesli relies on the sweetness from the dried fruit and a little drizzle of maple syrup or honey when you serve it, usually with milk or yogurt. Most muesli recipes don't toast the oats either, but we already know how I feel about that approach.

One last note, if you want to make this dairy free or vegan, then try swapping in canola or grapeseed oil for the butter, and skip the melting step. While I haven't tried it this way, I'm pretty confident it'll work well (and leave a comment if you do, so we can all learn together!).

4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter

3 cups (319 grams) old fashioned oats (not quick cooking)

1 cup (141 grams) raw pumpkin seeds

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped

1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) fleur de sel

1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) ground cinnamon

1 cup (130 grams) raisins

Turn the oven on to 300ºF. Place the butter into an oven-safe ramekin or small pot and place in the oven to melt while it preheats; remove and set aside.

In a deep bowl, combine the oats, pumpkin seeds, vanilla bean seeds, fleur de sel and cinnamon. Stir to mix well. Pour the melted butter over the mixture, and stir until well coated. Spread the oat mixture onto an 11" X 17" rimmed baking sheet.

Bake for 25 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Remove from oven, stir in the raisins, and set pan on a wire rack until completely cooled. Store in a tightly sealed jar for up to one week.