Thursday, August 12, 2010

♪ Granola Recipe Favorite ♪

Recently, after tiring of buying granola so often, I decided to try my hand at making it at home. I searched around on blogs for recipes and opinions, finally finding several recipes that sounded tasty. The whole process turned out to be pretty easy, so I thought I'd share my experience here. This recipe makes enough granola to fill two large freezer bags like this:

First let me say that I'm not a real kitchen person. I know the basics, but even at that, I sometimes mess up simple things. So I needed a recipe that wasn't too complicated or challenging.

Here is what I use (it is a blend of a few recipes I found):

- Liquid Mix Ingredients: 2/3 cup Honey, 1/2 cup Vegetable Oil, 1/3 cup Brown Sugar, 2 tsp each Vanilla and Almond Extract
- Dry Mix Ingredients: 1/2 cup Almonds (whole), 1 cup Coconut Flakes, 1/2 cup Sesame Seeds, 1/2 Cup Sunflower Seeds, 5 Cups Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats
- 2 Cups Raisins or other dried Fruits
- Cooking Spray for baking sheets

Let me tell you upfront that making granola takes an hour or two in the kitchen, plus utilization of a few bowls, pans, measuring cups/spoons and spatulas. The time starts when you start digging out everything you need, continues during preparation, cooking, cooling, and then finally there is a bit of cleanup. So don't plan to try this process if you only have a half hour to spare.

I use one very large bowl, two metal baking sheets, a manual nut chopper, and a small sauce pan. Plan on having the counter space to lay the baking sheets out on, since there is stirring to be done during and after the cooking steps. The oven needs to have two racks that are arranged pretty low in the oven. I have found that the lower rack browns the granola better.

Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees, then:
1) Combine the Dry Ingredients in the very large bowl, mix well. Chop Almonds as part of this step
2) Combine the Liquid Ingredients in the small sauce pan - all except the Vanilla and Almond Extract for now
3) Heat the Liquid Ingredients til it is all combined, then remove from heat, and stir in the Vanilla and Almond Extract
4) Pour the Liquid over the Dry Ingredients, mix well. I use two large spatulas to turn and mix
5) Spray the baking sheets, then dish on the mixture, smoothing it out to cover all the surfaces
6) Bake for 30 minutes, with these activities mixed in:
a) stir after 10 minutes
b) remove after 10 more minutes (total 20 minutes) to add the raisins
c) remove after 10 more minutes (total 3o minutes) and start the cooling process
7) Allow the granola to slowly cool down. Stir every 5-10 minutes to prevent clumping
8) Optional - I like to put the granola back in the large bowl to finish cooling, since it is easier to stir it there
9) Once cool, put the granola in your favorite container
10) I refrigerate 1/2 of it for immediate use, and put the other half in the freezer

As I mentioned earlier, my lower baking sheet tends to brown the granola better. That's probably why I mix the batches back together to even out the colors. Regardless, this recipe has worked well for my family and it has become a frequent activity at our house.

Do you have a good granola recipe? Please share in the comments section so that I can continue to improve.




Anonymous said...

I love granola sprinkled on top of my yogurt or granola bars, but I've yet to make my own...probably because I'm a piggy and eat it all up too quickly ;-)

Looks yummy!