Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Homemade Granola

On this last day of August, I have got a treat for you - a guest post by Natalie Vittles!

She has been kind enough to take some time out of her busy schedule to share not only her super-secret and super-delicious homemade granola recipe, but also a little history of how it came to be!

I'm not sure which I'm more excited about.

You be the judge.  Enjoy :)

As Maggie mentioned in her last post, I don't have a lot of spare time on my hands these days. I am a mother to a very rambunctious 3 year old boy and a happy-go-lucky, but still needy 5 month old infant. Oh and I just started law school.  I ever-so-wisely rode the late pregnancy hormone-induced wave of ambition straight into that logistical calamity.

As you may have guessed, a lot of my time-consuming stay-at-home-mom-with-a-perfectionist-hippie-streak obsessions have fallen by the wayside. While our first child was on a super strict cloth diaper regimen (which even included toting giant bags of soiled linens on vacation) our second receives this conscience-soothing treatment in increasingly rare cases such as when the toosh isn't a little bit irritated, or when he isn't about to take a nap, or for that matter when dirty diapers aren't in queue behind 2 days of backlogged laundry - i.e almost never.

But there is one law school felled tradition that I quickly resurrected - making my own granola. It's just too good. It makes the store-bought stuff (even the organic, pumpkin seed, super omega, etc. stuff) seem like Cap'n Crunch in comparison. Nothing against the Cap'n, but that's dessert not breakfast.  

I had been making this recipe every week for a year, slowly changing things as I went along. Finding a good granola recipe to start with was no easy task. Even my trusty Mark Bittman, the man who taught me how to cook..well.."Everything..," left me with burnt and bland granola after way too many steps and way too many pans and bowls. I eventually adapted a recipe from Delicious Living magazine, a free handout at our local co-op. 

If you compare the recipes, you'll see that in the end I just added almond butter (to create the crunchy clumps), subtracted the coconut (because it really didn't add anything to the taste), and greatly reduced the cooking time (to avoid the burnt taste). Amazing how it took me a whole year to get to this point, but hindsight is 20/20. 

The final recipe is very adaptable and customizable. You can add different seeds, nuts and dried fruit for a completely new taste. It's equally as good with yogurt as it is with milk, which is a plus since I've been addicted to Greek yogurt lately. Is that stuff amazing or what?!  And I assure you that you do not need to be a domestic goddess like Ms. Vittles to make this recipe. If your idea of cooking is throwing ingredients into a giant bowl (or if you've just got a lot on your plate), this recipe is for you:

Homemade Granola
  • 8 cups uncooked rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup almonds, chopped or sliced
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup sunflower oil*
  • 1 TB Molasses
  • 1 TB vanilla extract
  • 1 heaping spoonful (or more) Almond Butter
  • cinnamon
  • salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix first 5 dry ingredients. Make well and add in next 6 ingredients. Stir to combine. Press mixture into two jelly roll pans and sprinkle with a little bit of salt and a lot of cinnamon. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, stir, and bake for 10 additional minutes. Remove granola from pans immediately (otherwise it will stick) and put in resealable bag or storage container. I keep mine in the same giant Pyrex bowl that I used to mix the ingredients. After it comes out of the oven you can add dried fruit to the recipe.

*Any neutral, high heat oil could probably be used if sunflower oil isn't available.

Recipe Adapted (by Natalie) from Delicious Living Mag.com

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