My mom adventures in Fort Collins


Bakin’ to cure the blues: Granola
April 3, 2012, 6:32 pm
Filed under: Food | Tags: , , ,

I have taken an unintentional hiatus from writing, mainly because it was simply too nice outside. Today, with gray skies and—I kid you not–the sort of precipitation that looks an awful lot like snow, I’m back at it. This is the kind of day in Colorado where neighbors say to one another, “Well, we need the moisture.” It never ceases to amaze me that people living in what-essentially-amounts-to-a-desert will comment on the lack of moisture.

I’ve got the perfect antidote for cold weather blues: Turn on the oven.

I would like to share my recipe for granola. It is, like most of my favorite recipes, adapted from Everyday Food Magazine. This is the easiest recipe ever, and perfectly customizable to your own tastes. See the notes at the end for variations and thoughts.

Here's the granola, cooling on a rack.

Ingredients:

3 cups of rolled oats

1 cup of nuts

1/3 cup of honey

¼ cup of butter

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ cup of dried fruit

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Put butter, honey, salt and spices in a microwave safe dish. Microwave at 30 second intervals until the butter is melted (about 1 ½ minutes).
  3. In a large bowl, combine oats and nuts. Pour the butter/honey mixture over the oats and nuts, and mix well.
  4. On a parchment paper lined baking sheet, arrange the mixture in a single layer. Bake for approximately 24-28 minutes, stirring every 8 minutes. Remove from the oven before the nuts get too golden brown.
  5. Using the parchment paper to move the entire batch, place on a cooling rack. Let cool completely. Transfer to an airtight container and add the dried fruit. Keeps for at least 3 weeks.

    It starts out looking like this--just a bowl of oats and nuts.

Thoughts:

I like to use honey, but I have used different combinations of sweeteners—brown sugar, maple syrup, white sugar, etc. Likewise, you could use a combination of butter and vegetable oil. If you’re using a fat that is already a liquid obviously you don’t need to melt it—no need to microwave it or you’ll have a huge mess.

Personally, I like vanilla and cinnamon, but the spices could easily be modified. Use cardamom, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, almond extract, anise, or whatever other spices that you like.

I’m not a big dried fruit person, so I forego it. Totally optional. As for the nuts, I like to use raw nuts since you’ll be baking it anyway. I generally use a combo of almonds and cashews, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds. If you use roasted and salted nuts, you may want to adjust the salt in the recipe.

And as for the baking time, I’m vague because I can’t totally predict how your oven cooks. This is one recipe that can be less forgiving, and I’ve had to throw away whole batches when I wasn’t paying attention to my time. For Pete’s sake, don’t make this mistake, it’s too yummy to throw away.

Serve with yogurt, ice cream, or a simple medley of fruit and milk. Enjoy!

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