Homemade Granola

Homemade granola is all about taking back control over your cereal.  It is from this early morning soapbox that you can start your day right – with a measured allowance of sugar, that leaves plenty of dietary room for that chocolate treat that’s looming at the back of your mind throughout the day, a reduction in fat that will actually make sacrificing your daily bacon ration worthwhile, at least, according to health professionals and to the benefit of the swine herds of America, and you wouldn’t be forced to ingest cardboard-like materials that are reported to have health benefits, but are best left to their most common uses such as rope.  Flax anyone?  Unless, of course, that’s your jam, in that case, flax away, because the true benefit of homemade granola is that it’s all about your personal preferences, and about being able to eat what you like.  Your favorite nuts, dried fruits, seeds, berries, and spices.

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I’ll admit, for several years I struggled to get my homemade granola to the crunchy, low fat and sugar, goodness that I desired from my breakfast cereal.  My granola making technique was inherited from my mother.  A relic of the crunchy-granola 70s.  Her method consists, primarily, of drizzling syrup and oil over the oats until they clump together, and then baking it for over a hour until the oats clumps have dried out sufficiently.  A perfectly fine method, if you’re willing to spend an entire evening babysitting your granola and enjoy buying maple syrup by the gallon, but not ideal if your looking to control your sugar and fat intake.

Several months ago I stumbled upon a granola making technique the completely revolutionized my breakfast cereal.   It is so simple, makes complete sense, and I can’t help wondering why it took me so long to come across it.  You probably already know which trick I’m talking about, and have been doing it for years, I’m just late to the game.  But seriously, game changer.  The super secret, magical ingredient, to fulfill all your sunny breakfast dreams, is… drumroll, please… hot water.  Drizzling hot water over your oats to partially cook them results in larger and airier oat clumps and a lower cook time.  Your hour long granola roast has been reduced to a brief 20 minutes, and if you have a stand mixer you don’t even need to clumsily stir your oats with one hand while balancing the hot water with the other, you can simply drizzle the water in while the machine does all of the hard work.

Piece of cake… or in this case granola.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb Oats
  • 1-2 cups Nuts (I used 1 cup Pecans and 1 cup Almonds for this batch)
  • 1 cup unsweetened Coconut flakes
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 cup Maple Syrup
  • 1/4 cup Canola Oil
  • 1/2 cup Hot Water
  • 1 cup dried Fruit (dried cranberries or cherries are personal favorites)

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Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F (~176 C).
  2. In a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the oats, nuts, and coconut.
  3. While continuing to stir, drizzle in the oil and syrup.
  4. Stir in the salt and cinnamon.
  5. While continuing to stir, drizzle in the hot water.
  6. Continue to stir until the oats have clumped together.  If the granola is still too dry add a little more hot water.
  7. Sprinkle the granola evenly onto two baking sheets.
  8. Bake the granola for 10 minutes before giving it a stir and returning it to the oven for another 10 minutes.  Continue this 10 minute, stir routine until your granola is nicely toasted.  It usually only takes one or two stirs.
  9. Once you have removed the granola from the oven stir in the dried fruit.
  10. Allow the granola to cool fully before storing it in a tightly sealed container.

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