Saturday, September 24, 2011

Oats of Plenty

While I have had my share of kitchen mishaps (there was the incident with the Asian peanut noodles that went downhill very fast), I can happily say I have have come close to mastering the art of granola making. Half the battle is just committing to being finicky about which types you will and will not eat. Here's a hint: make your own! It's foolproof and ingredients for a two week supply costs about as much as well, a canister of oats (about 3-ish dollars the last time I checked). Perhaps if I was a business lady I would stop writing this and try to sell you granola at crazy-high markup like most companies but instead, I'd rather share! Besides, you will quickly forget the sticker shock once you catch a glance at the "nutrition" facts. The sugar! The salt! I am no health food extremist but such high volumes of these ingredients is simply not necessary. The fact is toasted oats taste pretty darn good on their own. With that in mind, I have found that you can increase the amount of oats called for in most recipes and everything still comes up roses. For example, the recipe which I have adapted originally calls for 3.5 cups oats and 1 cup of liquid (ie: oil and sugar) but 5 cups oats and just under 3/4 cup liquid yields an unnoticeably different result. Yogurt and granola, here I come!

Cranberry Coconut Granola
5 c. old fashioned oats
3/4 c. sliced almonds
1/2 c. flax seeds
1/2 c. dried coconut
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. cinnamon
grated lemon or orange peel
1/4 c. canola oil
1/4 c. maple syrup or honey
1/4 molasses
dash vanilla extract
dash almond extract
1 c. dried cranberries

1) Mix first seven ingredients in a large roasting pan, the high sides make it much easier to mix and stir later on.
2) Whisk together next four ingredients in a separate bowl
3) Combine liquid with dry ingredients well, until all oats/nuts are well coated. Taste the mixture and adjust as needed.
4) Roast the granola at 325 degrees for about 25 minutes, until granola is golden brown. Make sure to stir well every 5-6 minutes, otherwise it will burn.
5) Remove from oven and stir in the dried cranberries.
6) Store in an airtight container, will keep 2-3 weeks.
7) Enjoy!

Feel free to mix up the ingredients. Dried fruit is always added in at the end, nuts always go in with the oats. You can use just about any type and/or combination of liquid sugar. I use flax seeds for a little omega 3 action but other seeds are good too.

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