Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Granola for cheaters

I've always been told granola is easy to make at home but never really believed it until a couple weeks ago when I pulled out ye old Joy of Cooking to try it out myself. The first few batches were good but a bit too crisp, and one ended up on the floor after my kitchen counter gave out on me. Thankfully, with this last batch I think I've cracked the code. Based on how quickly this stuff disappears at our house, I think you'll enjoy it too!

Kitchen Sink Granola (grossly bastardized from the Joy of Cooking)

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Scatter over a large baking sheet and toast in the oven about 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes:

3 cups oats

Mix in a large bowl:

1 cup coarsely chopped almonds, pecans, or walnuts
1 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1 cup generic cornflakes

And any/all of the following:

1/2 - 1 1/2 cup almond meal (you can find it at Trader Joe's)
1 tbsp - 1/2 vanilla protein powder, soy powder, cocoa powder, or wheat germ (I haven't tried the latter)
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 - 3 tbsp sweetened condensed milk
1 - 3 tbsp brown sugar

Add toasted oats to the (mostly) dry ingredients above.
Heat in a small saucepan over low heat for 5 minutes:

1/2 cup vegetable or coconut oil
1/2 - 2/3 cup honey
1 - 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Stir the honey mixture into the (mostly) dry mixture. Mix thoroughly with tongs or a large spoon. Spread in a thin layer on the baking sheet (use 2 pans if necessary) and toast, stirring frequently, 45 - 55 minutes, or until all the ingredients are lightly browned. (This is where I got myself in trouble the first few times... if you get obsessed with everything being brown and crunchy- it will be too well done. If you remember that as the granola dries, it will harden and lose some of its moisture, you'll be all set.) Let cool, then store in a tightly sealed container. JOC says 5 days or 1 month in the fridge. Salty says, 10 days or... if you do this right, it won't even last that long.

This stuff is excellent as a snack, over yogurt with fruit, or delicious as a simple cereal with a little low fat milk. Seriously- I may never shop for granola again. Eat your heart out hippies!

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