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Fruitcake Granola

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OK, so this isn’t your typical fruitcake, not at all like great, great, great, great grandma use to make…hmmm, I wonder if that thing is still around here somewhere.  haha  Whether or not you like fruitcake, their history on them is rather interesting…

  • In the Bahamas, not only is the fruitcake drenched with rum, but the ingredients are as well. All of the candied fruit, walnuts, and raisins are placed in an enclosed container and  soaked with the darkest variety of rum, anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months in advance. The cake ingredients are mixed, and once the cake has finished baking, rum is poured on it while it is still hot.
  • In Canada, the fruitcake is commonly known as the Christmas Cake.
  • In French, as in some other non-English speaking countries, it is simply called “Cake”.
  • In Germany, The Stollen, a traditional German fruitcake usually eaten during the Christmas season, is loaf-shaped and powdered with icing sugar on the outside.  It is usually made with yeast, butter, water, flour, zest, raisins, and almonds.
  • In Italy, fruit cake is known as Panforte which is a chewy, dense Tuscan fruitcake dating back to 13th-century Siena.
  • In the US, typical American fruitcake is rich in dried fruit and nuts.

What to do with a fruitcake?

  • The Egyptians thought so much of these cakes that they put them in tombs. They thought that fruitcake would survive the long journey to the afterlife. That concept isn’t too far-fetched.
  • Crusaders knew that fruitcake could withstand a long journey.  Not only did these cakes withstand long journeys, but they were also full of nutritious items like dried fruit and nuts.
  • Many people claim that fruitcake gets better with age.  Another fun fact is that they are perfectly edible as long as there is no mold on them.  The only problem is that they sometimes dry out.  If this happens, just soak them in alcohol (the drinking kind) or simple syrup to renew them.
  • The people of Manitou Springs, Colorado take part in the Great Fruitcake Toss.  This festival features several different fruitcake contests.  People see how far they can throw or hurl this holiday treat, while others use fruitcake to make little cars for a race.
  • Fruitcake will last for years without spoiling.  It’s true.  A fruitcake that is properly preserved with an alcohol soaked cheesecloth that is then wrapped in plastic wrap or foil can be kept unrefrigerated for years without spoiling.  In the past, before refrigerators came along, families would make fruitcake for holidays and special occasions months in advance.  As long as the cloth was re-moistened with alcohol occasionally the cakes not only didn’t spoil, they actually tasted richer and sweeter because they had been soaking in brandy or rum for a couple of months.
Well, I can’t say that my Fruitcake Granola will last for years but I can almost guarantee that it would make for a well received gift that will be gone probably in less than a week!

Ingredients:

Dry Ingredients:

  • 4 cups raw rolled, gluten-free oats, (soaked)
  • 1 cup flaked unsweetened coconut
  • 1 cup raw almonds (soaked 4 hours or more)
  • 1 cup diced raw pecans or walnuts (soaked 4 hours or more)
  • 1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds (soaked 2 hours or more)
  • 5 cups mixed dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, cherries, diced  pineapple, diced apricots, chopped dates, or the mixture of your choice)
  • 3/4 cup raw cashew nut flour (meal)
  • zest of 1 organic orange
  • zest of 1 organic lemon

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw flax meal
  • 1/2 cup raw coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cup pure maple syrup (not raw)
  • 2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Preparation:

  1. Rinse the soaked oats, nuts and seeds until the water runs clear.  Transfer to a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  2. In the food processor, using the “S” blade combine all the ingredients that are listed as “wet ingredients”.  You can also use a blender or mix by hand.
  3. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix well until everything is well coated.  Allow the batter to sit for about 15 minutes, this activates the flax meal and will help to absorb some of the extra fluid.  This batter will be wet as you place it on the dehydrator sheets but it shouldn’t be soupy.
  4. Place the batter on the teflex sheets that come with your dehydrator.  If you don’t have those you can use parchment paper, but don’t use wax paper because the granola will stick to it.  You can either spread the batter out flat with an offset spatula or you can drop it on the screen in chunks which allows it to dry in clusters.   This is my favorite way since we tend to eat the granola more as a snack than as a cereal.
  5. Dehydrate at 105 degrees for about 4 hours and then flip the granola over onto the mesh screens that comes with the dehydrator.  Continue drying for about 20 hours or until desired dryness is reached.  I tend to like my granola more on the chewy side than the crunchy side.
  6. Once done and cooled, store the granola in air-tight containers.  You can keep it on the counter top for walk-by munching or it can be stored in the fridge or freezer to extend the shelf life.  On the counter it should last several weeks,  if it lasts that long!

I always get a real charge out of pulling the granola off the mesh screens once it is through dehydrating. :)

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