Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Recipe: Homemade Granola


Granola is a staple in so many households, and is a nutritious and quick meal to start the day. If your short on time, you can always buy it packaged or in bulk at the store, but there's nothing better than the sweet, wafting smell of granola baking in the oven. Depending on what you choose to add to it, making it yourself can even cut down the cost considerably!

 There are countless ways to tweak this recipe according to your taste, but this is the basic formula. You can substitute a different fat for the butter (like Earth Balance, olive oil, or coconut oil), and could add different fruit or nuts (dried blueberries, dates, cranberries, walnuts, pecans). The sweetener is up to you, too, replacing the agave with honey, brown sugar, maple syrup, or any other natural alternative. Some people might want to add seeds (pumpkin, sesame, hemp) or different spices (ginger, allspice, cardamom).

This is what we used:

Dry ingredients
4 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup rasins
3/4 cup dried apples (chopped to smaller pieces)
1 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup coconut flakes
1 tsp cinnamon
a dash of salt

Wet ingredients
1/2 cup agave nectar
1 stick unsalted butter


Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees
2. Cover a large baking sheet with aluminum foil

3. Add all of the dry ingredients except the cinnamon and salt together in a large bowl and mix together with your hands.



4.   In a small saucepan, combine the butter, agave, cinnamon, and salt on medium heat for about four minutes or until the butter is melted and all ingredients are well mixed. Stir with a rubber spatula.



5. Add the dry ingredients in a mound on the baking sheet and pour hot mixture on top.


6. With a rubber spatula or your hands, mix the dry and wet ingredients until all of the oats are coated. Cover the baking sheet evenly with the mixture.


7. Bake for 15 minutes in a 300 degree oven and then remove baking sheet. With a rubber spatula, stir the granola around and then return to the oven for an additional 15 minutes, or until the granola has toasted to a golden brown.

8. Remove from the oven and let sit until cool -- about an hour. Once it's cooled the oats will clump together and form delicious clusters. Using a spatula, scoop the granola into a glass jar or plastic bag.



9. Serve with yogurt, or any kind of milk you prefer (dairy, soy, almond, hemp, rice).


The granola will keep for up to a couple months if stored properly in an airtight container. This recipe will make about 15-20 servings. *Note - the recipe was doubled in these images.

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