Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Granola Momma

Early-Morning Granola
(Cooking Light, November 2006)

3 C uncooked regular oats
1 C wheat germ
1/2 C chopped pecans
1/2 C sliced almonds
1/3 C sunflower seeds
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon ( I use more)
1/4 C honey
1/4 C maple syrup
2 T. brown sugar
2 T. vegetable oil
1 C raisins
1 C dried fruit of your choice (apples, apricots, cherries, whatever)

Don't let the list of ingredients overwhelm you.  It's worth the effort to make your own granola. 

I guess I started making this in 2006 because I noted on the page ripped from Cooking Light that this was my Christmas gift giveaway that year.  Probably not as much fun to receive as cookies or cake, but it's less of a gut bomb. 

Once you have the stuff on hand, you will be more inclined to make this, so buy everything in bulk.  It only takes an hour from start to finish, and that includes cleanup.  It is great with yogurt, mixed with cereal, or on ice cream, but Cooking Light probably would frown upon your using it as a nightly sundae topper.   

Let's get started.

First, get out all your ingredients.  You see mine above.  They are just a mixture of generic, mostly store-brand items, which are perfectly fine.  For a while I used  pure maple syrup until I realized that the taste was the same if I used  Aunt Maple's from Aldi.  Honey is honey, coconut is coconut, sugar is see where I am going with this.  Buy the cheap store brands when making granola.

Oops!  My top photo doesn't include wheat germ.  Can't forget that.  It is full of folic acid and Vitamin E, which helps maintain vitality and cardiovascular health (at least that's what the jar says).  We all can use a little vitality, can't we?  You'll get a full cup of it in this recipe.

Once you've emptied the pantry, get out a huge bowl and throw in the oats, cinnamon, nuts of your choosing, sunflower seeds, wheat germ, and if you like, toss some coconut in there, too.  I do.  This is a forgiving recipe.  You can play with it. 

Next, in a small saucepan, slowly dissolve the brown sugar, oil, maple syrup and honey.  It takes about five minutes and looks like this when ready:

Pour that on top of the oat mixture and mix well.  You want everything covered with sticky goodness.  Dump the contents of the bowl onto an aluminum foil-lined jelly-roll pan/cookie sheet.  I spray the foil with non-stick cooking spray.  Put the pan in a preheated 350-degree oven and toss the granola with a metal spatula every five minutes until it's all nicely toasted.  This takes about 30 minutes.   Remember to babysit it because burnt nuts will ruin everything.  Nobody wants their nuts scorched. :)

When the oat mixture is golden brown, remove it from the oven and let it cool.  Then add your favorite dried fruits.  In this batch I used dried cherries, craisins, and an assortment of raisins.  Mix gently and place in an air-tight container.  It stays fresh for weeks - well, maybe not fresh, but it stays good for a long time.

Keep in mind this is a low-fat recipe, thanks to the reduced amount of oil.  If you look at other granola recipes you will see that they use about 1/4 cup of oil.  I believe this is what produces those clumps we all love.   This lightened version does not produce lots of clumps, but it also won't give you lots of clumps where you don't want them, as in clumpy rumpy.

Notes:  Sometimes I add a touch of vanilla or almond extract to the honey/syrup/sugar mixture.  It adds a little variety.

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