Monday, October 10, 2011

Easy Granola

Okay, I finally did it! I made granola from scratch. It was super easy - and cheap, especially considering that Matt eats it faster than I can make it...

I googled easy granola recipes and every site sent me to Pam Anderson (no, not from Baywatch...). She was published in a USA Today article. Here is my scaled down version, just the parts that were helpful to me. I have been playing with the extras and mixing and matching these recipes. It has been delicious!

Some suggestions from Pam:

  • Don't use quick oats - that is not going to work because they are not the right kinda oats.
  • use both liquid and dry sweeteners - Pam uses maple syrup in the recipe but also suggest molasses and honey (in different proportions). This adds flavor and color to the granola.
  • bake at low temperatures - I don't actually think we are cooking in the baking sense of the word. It was more about crisping the oats.
  • make clusters - just like in the granola you bought at the store. The clusters hold whatever you put it on.
Here's what I needed:
Master Recipe - makes about 1 quart
  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ (I don't know what this does)
  • 2 tbsp dark brown sugar (I found dark brown, I don't know what the difference is to regular brown sugar)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Extra ingredients (see below)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup - To replace maple syrup, use 2 tbsp each maple syrup & molasses
  • 3 tbsp oil (it said flavorless, I used olive oil)
  • 1 tbsp water
  • flavorings (see below)
Here's what I did:
  1. Heat oven to 275 degrees
  2. Coat 9x13 metal pan with cooking spray (I didn't see the part about the metal pan and it worked fine!)
  3. Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl - NO FRUIT - and set aside
  4. Simmer wet ingredients together over low heat
  5. Drizzle wet over the dry (in the bowl) and stir to combine
  6. Pour into prepared pan
  7. Working in handfuls, seriously, squeeze to make clusters (if not clustering, add a little more water)
  8. Bake for 30 minutes
  9. ADD FRUIT NOW, not earlier so it isn't soggy granola
  10. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes more
  11. Cool, and EAT!!!
Don't forget to store in something airtight so it stays crunchy.

1. Classic Granola
Extra ingredients:
1/3 cup chopped walnuts, 1/3 cup sweetened coconut flakes (yea right, not in my kitchen), 1/3 cup raisins (yea right, maybe 1 1/2 cups)
Flavoring: 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

2. Crunchy Granola
Extra ingredients:
1/4 cup slivered almonds, 1/4 cup sunflower seeds, 2 tbsp sesame seeds, 6 tbsp currants (I think they are berries?)
Flavoring: none

3. Granola with Tropical Flavoring
Extra ingredients: 1/4 cup chopped roasted unsalted cashews, 1/4 cup chopped banana chips, 1/4 cup sweetened flake coconut, 1/4 cup dried pineapple
Flavoring: 1/2 tsp ground ginger

4. Granola with Cherries and Almonds
Extra ingredients: 1/3 cup sliced almonds, 1/3 cup sweetened flake coconut, 1/3 cup dried cherries
Flavoring: 3/4 tsp almond extract

5. Trail Mix Granola
Extra ingredients: 1/4 cup chopped roasted unsalted peanuts, 1/4 cup sweetened flake coconut, 1/4 cup raisins, 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
Flavoring: none
***chips go in at the very end, after the baking, and after it has COOLED - DUH

6. Orange-Berry Granola with Pecans
Extra ingredients: 1/2 cup chopped pecans, 1/4 cup dried cranberries, 1/4 cup dried blueberries
Flavoring: 1/2 tsp orange zest

7. Pear Granola with Hazelnut & Vanilla
Extra ingredients: 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts, 1/4 cup chopped dried cherries, 1/4 cup dried pears
Flavoring: 1 tsp vanilla extract  

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