Granola

Yep, granola. We both enjoy yogurt (especially a nice Greek yogurt) with some granola on it, but the store bought granola are just over priced and typically not very good. After trying Alton Brown’s Granola Recipe, which was tasty enough, but not quite what we like, I scoured the internet and found this recipe. This batch turned out much better (and really, a better batch size for the two of us).

Basic Recipe:
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup wheat germ
2 Tbs. dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup almond (I’ve used both slivers and slices-I like slices)
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 Tbs. flavorless oil, such as vegetable or canola
1 Tb. water

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix liquid ingredients in a saucepan, and bring to a simmer (I’m not entire sure what this step does-next time I’ll do a side by side, one with this, one without and see if there is a difference). Pour liquids over the dry ingredients, and mix together. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Coat a sheet pan with cooking spray and spread out the mixture (let it clump some-those are the best parts). Bake for 35 minutes, then check on it. It may need more time at this point, but it may be done, depending on how fast your oven is.

I also made a batch of this for my Grandparents. I put the zest of one orange (next time I’ll use two), and mixed that with the liquid and omitted the vanilla. I also put in about 3/4 to 1 cup of pecans instead of almonds. Then, after it had baked for 30 minutes, I sprinkled some chopped dried cranberries over the top and let it bake another 15 minutes to try them out a little more. The end result was a pleasant citrus and cranberry mixture.

A note on sweeteners: For the first batch (Alton’s recipe), I used a mixture of mostly maple syrup (real stuff-from an actual tree) and a little honey. It was good, but I found that the delicate perfumes of the maple were rather lost during baking. The honey is a nice, more neutral sweetener. For a future batch, I’m going to try some cane syrup we have in the cupboard, just for giggles. I wasn’t a huge fan of the sweetened coconut in the first batch we made-it got a bit over toasted, and I really didn’t miss it in the second. If I add any again, I’ll go with a non-sweetened (to not alter the grain/sweet flavor balance), and add it later in the cooking process (probably when dried fruit is added).

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