Monday, February 1, 2010

Glorious Granola

Rachel here: My mom suggested making scones for this post (stay tuned for a future post featuring these), but I desperately wanted to make granola and so here we are. I've been eating it on-and-off for breakfast for years and, for about the last month, combined with some plain yogurt and fresh fruit, it's been my breakfast of choice. Anyway, there's really not much to say about it except that it is significantly better when homemade. And speaking of homemade, though the specific recipe posted below is my own concoction, it is very closely related to the granola I learned to make while working at the Homemade Cafe (they don't have a website, but if you ever find yourself in the Bay Area make your way over to 2454 Sacramento Street in Berkeley for a breakfast that most certainly won't disappoint...if you're lucky, John will be cooking). Enjoy!

4 c. rolled oats
1/4 tspn. salt
1/4 tspn. cinnamon
1/4 tspn. all spice
1/8 tspn. cloves
1 c. walnuts (broken)
1/2 c. almonds
1/2 c. pumpkin seeds
1/2 c. whole ground flax seed meal
3/4 c. honey
1/4 c. canola oil
dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Heat honey and oil on the stove until combined and pourable. Pour over bowl of dry ingredients and combine well (this will get stuck in your rings, so definitely take them off if you care about them at all). Spread evenly over a cookie sheet (I put my silpat down first, which makes cleaning up a non-issue). Place in oven, removing and stirring to redistribute granola every 10 to 15 minutes. If granola starts to brown before it is dry, leave oven door ajar. Remove granola once dry feeling (it won't feel completely dry, but will finish this process as it cools). Let cool. Add dried cranberries (or any other fruit you like) to taste. Personally, I like a lot so I threw in several generous handfuls. Place in an airtight container. Yum!

Janet here: I have basically been eating granola just about every day for, oh, decades. I mix it with yogurt and I am ready to start the day. I had never made granola, however, until today. I just assumed it was very complicated — all those ingredients! — and figured it was just something hippy dippy people did. I was a little nervous about making this, too. Again, I just thought it was going to be complicated and a flop.
I was wrong.
Simply put, I may never eat store-bought granola again. This homemade version is so superior it's like I don't even know what I was eating all those years. I created this recipe after trolling around on the web. It's a conglomeration of things I read on Chowhound under Best Homemade Granola and my go-to cooking goddess, The Barefoot Contessa.

Homemade Granola

4 cups rolled oats
1 1/2-2 cups nuts (I used sliced almonds, pecans and walnuts)
about 1/4 cup flaxseed meal
a large handful or so of sunflower seeds
1/4 cup canola oil
about 1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup or so of dried fruit (( used blueberries, but I could see adding cherries, apricots, bananas, etc.)

Heat oven to 300 degrees. Toss all the ingredients into a large bowl except the fruit. Heat the oil and honey in a pot and whisk together. Take it off the heat; add the vanilla, and then pour the liquid into the bowl and stir everything together. Place in two large roasting pans on one layer. Cook for about 40 minutes until golden brown, turning every 10 minutes or so. (I set the timer so I wouldn't burn it.)
After you take it out of the oven, mix in the dried fruit. Let cool. It will crisp up as it cools. Store in an airtight container. Delicious!

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