Monday, March 19, 2012

The Granola Movement

For about as long as I can remember I've heard people who embrace holistic and earth-friendly lifestyles referred to as "Granolas."  Presumably this a way to poke fun at those who are content to munch on the twigs and pebbles of the food chain.  Well if this is what twigs and pebbles taste like, count me in!!  I'll proudly bear the title of Granola.

I was hoping the first taste of my home-made granola would invoke a reaction that played out like a bad imitation of a Jim Carey movie.  You know... the whole tongue hanging out past the chin, slapping my hands and face and yanking myself forcibly away from the counter where it is cooling.  I didn't get quite that kind of good.


But not quite.  Yet.

With a bit more tweaking I think we'll get there, though.  Don't get me wrong... it is delicious.  Eating it up will not be a hardship!

What I don't like is that it didn't cluster up as much I wanted.  To solve this, I'm going to increase the wet ingredients a little next time.  It tastes slightly over-cooked because I baked it for about 15 minutes longer than called for because it was so thick on my jelly roll pan.  It also needs a bit more texture for my liking.

Here's what I did:

Yes, I threw in chocolate chips that are not in the recipe.
I love chocolate but this was a mistake I won't repeat.
In a very large bowl, I combined 6 cups of old fashioned oats, 2 cups of crisp rice cereal, 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1/2 Tbl salt and 1/8 cup cinnamon.

You're right... it does look like baby poop.  Everything I've
ever made with melted peanut butter does but thankfully
it doesn't taste like crap when you're done.
In a smaller bowl that can be used in the microwave, I mixed 1/3 cup brown sugar, 2/3 cup canola oil, 1 cup mild clover honey, 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter, 1/4 cup water and 1 tsp vanilla.  Microwave in 1 minute increments until combined.

Way too thick!  Use 2 pans...
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and mix gently until well incorporated and clusters begin to form.  If you want to add dried fruit or nuts or chocolate bits, do it now.  Turn out onto a lightly oiled jelly roll pan and bake at 325F for 20 minutes.  Stir and bake 15 minutes longer.  Let cool and store airtight.

In case you are wondering, I do have plan to fix the  minor inadequacies I saw in this batch of granola.  I'm going to up the measurement of oil to 1 cup, the brown sugar to 1/2 cup and the water to 1/2 cup.  I'm also planning on substituting 1 cup of nuts for 1 cup of oats and perhaps another 1/2 cup with sunflower or pumpkin seeds.  Those changes should give me the "more clusters and more texture" that I want.

I'm also thinking up some things to mix up the flavor.  Some time I'm going to try substituting maple syrup for honey, sliced almonds for 1 cup of the oats, almond extract for the vanilla, more oil to replace the fats from the peanut butter and add dried cranberries and white chocolate chips.  I'd also leave out the cinnamon on this combo.

Another idea I'm toying with is substitute white sugar for the brown, more oil in place of the peanut butter, big shreds of coconut in place of any nuts and using a combination of dried strawberries and banana slices.  Again, I'd leave the cinnamon out on this one.

What's your favorite granola recipe?

1 comment:

Colleen said...

Here's my recipe that I love:

I like it because there is no sugar added so it's actually pretty good for you AND it tastes good. We eat it way too fast around here. I like it with dried blueberries, but I've also toyed with the idea of trying one with coconut and maybe dried mango or something. Mmmm