Thursday, May 25, 2006

Granola

I make a lot of granola. It started because of sticker-shock at the prices health food stores charge for their tiny bags of cereal . And even when I coughed up the four dollars, what I was buying seemed more like deep-fried oats covered in sugar than a real breakfast food. So I started making my own on Sunday mornings, and saving it in a big tin that my housemates and I could dip into it throughout the week. At first, I used very very healthy recipes — oats, cinnamon, and raisins toasted in the oven — which were edible, but not exciting. The best solution came with butter, as in this version.

The great thing about making your own granola, leaving aside how quick, filling, and cheap it is, is how much variation you can add. I love shredded coconut in my granola — the pieces toast and become crunchy and sweet — but if it’s not your thing, don’t do it. You can make it with maple syrup and pecans if that’s what you like, or dried blueberries, apples, and walnuts. And there’s something very satisfying about having a big jar of it on hand, or smelling it baking in the mornings. All in all, it takes about fifteen minutes to prepare, and fifteen more to bake, not much longer than an omelette.

Granola
The recipe makes about 6 cups, so you’ll have some left over.

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2/3 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut
cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger powder, to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tsp. almond extract
1 cup mixed dried fruits such as raisins and cherries
1/3 cup hulled green pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seed (optional)

variations:
• substitute other nuts for almonds
• switch up the sweetners: maple syrup, honey, and brown sugar are all good options
• if you happen to accidentally buy sweetened coconut, decrease the amount of sugar to four tablespoons
• substitute vanilla or other extract for almond

Preheat oven to 325°F.
In a large bowl stir together oats, almonds, coconut, seeds, and salt. In a small saucepan melt butter with honey over low heat, stirring until melted. Turn the heat off and set aside. [If the mixture is fairly liquid-y, you can add in the dried fruits and let them soak a little. They will absorb the buttery-sugary-ness and taste significantly better. Before mixing the mixture into the oats, take the fruit out and put it in a little bowl for later, so they don’t dry out in the oven.]

Pour butter mixture over oat mixture and stir until combined well.

In a large baking pan spread granola evenly and bake in middle of oven, stirring halfway through baking, until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Cool granola in pan on a rack and stir in dried fruits. Granola may be kept in an airtight container at cool room temperature 2 weeks.



Makes about 6 cups
Very loosely adapted from Gourmet Magazine,
 February 1999

2 Comments:

Anonymous A well fed housmate said...

I am very happy to have this up there!

9:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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1:25 PM  

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