March 04, 2009

Granola


I love a good breakfast, but I always seem to get stuck in a breakfast rut of repetition. There's never enough time during the week to to do much besides slurp a bowl of dry cereal, and none of my imagined breakfasts for the weekend ever seem to happen. The most I ever manage is a bowl of oatmeal.
After basically eating the same cereal for about the last five years, a couple of weeks ago I finally burned out on dry cereal and couldn't seem to find one that tasted good. My husband brought home a box of super healthy (according to the box) granola but it tasted like it was made from the box with the addition of rock bits.
I decided it was time to make granola. That sounds so 70s, doesn't it? I miss those 70s granola days. As my husband went off to do food shopping at the coop, I asked him to get stuff that could go into granola. I didn't specify anything, so I ended up with some pretty basic ingredients, but granola is a very open-ended performance art, so it's hard to go wrong.

About to go into the oven

Ken brought home organic quick oats. Though I've only used regular rolled oats in the past, these worked just fine. He also brought dates, sunflower seeds, apple juice and wheat germ. Everything else was stuff I had in the pantry. You could use rolled barley, spelt or wheat instead of some of the oats. You could use walnuts, peanuts, etc., instead of all or some of the cashews. You could use sesame seeds for half of the sunflower seeds. You could use all dried apples,pears or other dried fruit instead of dates. (Use a clean kitchen scissors to cut the dried dates or other fruit into small pieces.) You could use peanut butter or cashew butter instead of almond butter. You can add chocolate chips. I added some Ghirardelli 72% cacao extra bittersweet chocolate chips for baking. Yikes. Anyway, this is the granola as I made it. (Just want to mention that the granola is mildly sweet — not sweet sweet like most commercial granolas. I don't like food to be extra sweet, so if you do, you may want to up the sweetener.)

Crunchy granola
  • 6-7 cups quick oats or regular rolled oats, GF if needed
  • 1 cup raw wheat germ, or GF hemp seeds
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup raw walnuts, in halves or pieces
  • 1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 3/4 cup apple juice
  • 1/4 cup agave syrup (or maple syrup, or sorghum, or 1/2 cup rice syrup)
  • 1/3 cup almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped dates
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup non-dairy dark chocolate chips (optional)
  1. Mix together the oats, wheat germ or hemp seeds, cashews, sunflower seeds and coconut in a large bowl.
  2. Mix the apple juice, sweetener and almond butter in a small pot and warm over low heat, mixing to dissolve the almond butter. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla.
  3. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. I used my hands for this because the spoon was too slow.
  4. Divide between two large baking pans and bake in a 325˚F oven for ABOUT 45 minutes. While it's baking, stir about every 10 minutes to toast evenly and to prevent burning.
  5. When it turns golden brown, turn off the heat and allow to sit in the oven about 20–30 minutes to continue drying.
  6. Remove from the oven and stir in the fruit. Let cool and stir in the chocolate chips if you dare. (It's breakfast, after all. Be sensible!) If you do add chocolate chips, really let the granola cool well before stirring in any chocolate or the chocolate will melt. Yes, it will.
  7. When completely cool, store in an airtight container. 
ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

Dog pretending to be asleep
This is a dog with attitude. She knows perfectly well I'm there but she's refusing to look at me because somehow she knows I'm trying to practice using my new camera. And no, I'm not using a flash. She hates to have her picture taken, always has, and never smiles for the camera. But I love her anyway.

7 comments:

  1. Yum! I always make homemade granola. Your recipe has some very different flavor twists I will have to try.

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  2. That looks delicious! I am lazy on the breakfast front and I am lucky to have anything these days. I must get my act together and make some of this.

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  3. Sounds delicious!

    Courtney

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  4. I love to make granola and I'm always glad to find a new recipe. Yours doesn't have any oil in it, except from the nut butter - very nice. (I never know if more or less oil makes for a really crunchy granola.) And I don't like sweet sweet either, so I can't wait to try your recipe!

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  5. My thought was that while the almond butter added fat, at least it also added nutrition. You could probably add less, but there was exactly 1/3 cup left in the jar! The granola was very crunchy.

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  6. That granola looks fantastic!

    And your dog is completely adorable. Let her know that I don't like the camera's flash either :)

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  7. Blogger is not letting me add comments to my own blog! I added notes to the first 3 comments but when I made a comment to aTxVegn, I noticed that my earlier comments were GONE! This will be my fourth try and it better work this time!

    Alisa,
    It's great that you make granola often. I'm going to try to get into that habit It tastes so much better than plain cereal and it keeps me feeling full until lunch.

    Holler,
    I know you mean "busy" and not "lazy." Mornings are a hard time of day for organizing good food.

    Courtney,
    The granola is just about gone which means my son liked it a lot.

    jd,
    I passed along your message to Buffy. I don't usually use a flash when I photograph her but she's still not interested in modeling. Maybe I could tempt her with carrots...

    ReplyDelete

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