Monday, April 07, 2008

trippy hippy granola

Over the past few years I’ve become a breakfast person. For years, just the thought of eating anything before noon made my tummy queezy. Now it seems, breakfast is one of my favorite meals of the day.
Since mornings at our house are pretty hectic, (and early), I usually pack breakfast and lunch to work with me. Breakfast needs to be portable and ready to go…that means its usually mini shredded wheat cereal. Ho-hum… What I love is some good granola or Muesli, maybe add some yogurt. But have you seen the fat and sugar content in granolas? Or the price? Yikes.

So that got me started thinking about making homemade granola. Something that I can make with all the good things I want in it, and none of the bad overly sweet or overly fat. That probably makes me sound like a trippy hippy but let me tell you, yummy fragrant granola baking makes your house smell unbelievably cozy on a rainy Sunday afternoon and it is so easy to make.

Once I started searching for granola recipes I realized how adaptable granola is.
You have the just-the-basics type granola, oats, nuts, oil and some kind of sweetener or you can throw in the whole kitchen sink, a variety of nuts and grains, maybe a few different bits of sweetness like coconut and dried fruits, honey and maple syrup, or even applesauce. Throw in a bit of spice, like cinnamon and ginger if you like. It does require some stocking of the pantry with lots of these ingredients, but once that parts done they will last you quite awhile and you can whip a batch up in minutes. Im afraid that now that Ive crossed over to homemade granola, no store bought kind will ever do again…and why would I want to?

Yesterday, while I wanted to be outdoors working in the flowerbeds, the rainy weather that is typical spring in Seattle, kept us indoors and that to me means time to cook.
The recipe I made is like most recipes I make…and adapted version of about 6 different recipes which incorporate either a.) what I have in the pantry or b.) all the parts I liked best of each recipe, all merged together.

Here’s the recipe I used yesterday

4 cups rolled oats –( not instant)
1 cup raw roughly chopped pecans, almonds or peanuts
1 cup roughly chopped walnuts
1 cup hulled raw sunflower or pumpkin seeds
1 cup sweetened or unsweetened (if you can find it) coconut
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
¾ cup maple syrup
½ cup honey2 Tbsp. vegetable oil, such as canola or safflower
1 cup diced dried fruit of your choice – mango, apricot, cherries, cranberries, blueberries, apple, raisins – not added until after baking, not before.

Set racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Preheat the oven to 300°F.

In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. Stir to mix well. In a small bowl, combine all of the wet ingredients except the fruit. Stir to mix well. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ones, and stir well.Spread the mixture evenly on two rimmed baking sheets. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until evenly golden brown. Set a timer to go off every ten minutes while the granola bakes, so you can rotate the pans and give the granola a good stir; this helps it to cook evenly. Be careful because it burns quickly the last few minutes. I baked mine a little too long because it felt too soft, but apparently that’s how its suppose to feel because it crisps as it cools…lesson learned.

When it’s ready, remove the pans from the oven, stir well – this will keep it from cooling into a hard, solid sheet – and set aside to cool. After it has cooled you can add any dried fruit.

Scoop cooled granola into to a large zipper-lock plastic bag or other airtight container.
Store in the refrigerator indefinitely.
As soon as we’ve finished off this batch I plan to make another version. I found one with a few different spices, flax seeds and it uses applesauce instead instead of the maple syrup.


Mo said...

Awesome recipe, Susan! Thanks for your tips too! :)

Jill said...

That granola really looks good, Susan! My stepsister was making some the last time I was at her house. I'll have to dig up the recipe. She gave me a baggie full of it and I devoured it in the car on my way home. I'm gonna print off your recipe. I agree....once you've tried the homemade stuff, there's no going back!