Monday, April 21, 2008

Ga Ga For Granola

I love granola. I love eating it for breakfast with some yogurt and fruit, or for dessert with some vanilla ice cream and hot fudge sauce, or how about sprinkling granola on a slice of wholegrain toast that's been slathered with peanut butter? Need more ideas? The next time you make a batch of blueberry pancakes, why not top it off with a few handfuls of granola for some added texture and crunch? That one happens to be a favorite of my boyfriend's who discovered this at one of his favorite breakfast spots in Chicago long ago. You can even stir some granola into the batter and have some granola-baked pancakes. Okay, you get the picture. Now, what I really don't love about granola is all the sugar and fat that many store-bought ones have in their ingredients. Luckily, I have the solution to this--make your own granola at home. It's really quite easy and does not take much time at all. This recipe for granola has been my go-to granola recipe for several years and has never let me down in the taste department. It’s loaded with all sorts of goodies and of course, you’re free to improvise as much as you‘d like. Feel like adding shredded coconut to your granola? Go for it. Or how about some dried banana chips? Chocolate or carob chips perhaps? The possibilities are endless! This recipe also makes a huge batch so why not throw some together now and share it with your friends? You’ll be giving them a hearty and healthy treat and I think they’ll love you for it. How do you eat granola?

Homemade Granola (adapted from Alton Brown):
1 and 1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup water
4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
8 cups rolled oats (quick or old fashioned)
Chopped pecans, walnuts, whole almonds, pistachios, sunflower seeds, cashews (or any combination/proportions to equal 2 cups chopped nuts)
Dried fruit suggestions: chopped up dried pear, cranberries, blueberries, golden raisins
Preheat oven to 275 degrees F
Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Combine the brown sugar and water in a microwave safe bowl and heat in microwave for 5 minutes or until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from microwave and add vanilla extract and salt.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, nuts, and brown sugar syrup mixture until thoroughly mixed. Spread the granola onto the cookie sheets and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour until golden and crunchy. After removing from the oven, add the dried fruit and allow granola to cool completely. Store in airtight container once cooled.

1 comment:

Deborah said...

I've never made my own granola before, but it sounds like I need to start!!