Thursday, February 6, 2014

"golden" rolled oat granola

A top quality granola will cost you anywhere from $8.00 all the way up to $15.00 in a high end health food store. Less expensive granolas, loaded with HFC’s and low quality ingredients and puffed wheat products, don’t even bare mentioning here, other than to say, they are the reason people don’t like granola! Crunchy and mildly sweet, made to your precise tastes, there is nothing that compares to home made.  

This recipe has fast become a favorite amongst my kin. It is easy to make, wheat/gluten free, and made from whole real foods. The simplicity of granola can also be considered its weakness; there is literally no place for pour quality ingredients to hide. That being said, I use Bob’s Red Mill organic rolled oats and oat bran, and I buy wildflower honey direct from the folks who tend the bees.

Flexibility is another one of its assets. You can use any variety of seed, nuts, and dried fruit you think will taste good together. You could also add ground cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, or any other spice that will compliment your choice of dried or fresh fruit. You can even substitute maple syrup, cane syrup, or even agave for the honey in equal proportion without adversely affecting the results.  

Having this stored in your cupboard can be like having a healthy meal insurance policy. I prefer to eat this with yogurt and fresh fruit, as part of my regular breakfast rotation, but it can also be eaten as a cold cereal, take along snack, or even used as an easy dessert topping on ice cream or custard. Late night and lazy evening cravings can even be sated by tossing a handful of chocolate chips or salted nuts into a bowl with this granola, and eating it dry in front of the television or computer screen.

Recipe following cut:
454g rolled oats [~1lb]  - sometimes labeled “Old Fashioned Rolled Oats”
80g sweetened coconut* [~1 cup]
65g slivered almonds [~½ cup]
35g sunflower seeds [~¼ cup]
65g oat bran [~½ cup]
4g fine grade sea salt [~½ tsp]
100g canola oil [~½ cup]
170g honey** [~½ cup]
60g water [~1/2 cup] 60ml
10g pure vanilla extract [~1½ tsp]
85g raisins [~½ cup]
85g sweetened dried cranberries [~½ cup] 

*If you are very concerned about reducing your sugar intake, you can use unsweetened coconut. I prefer the sweetened.  

** I usually buy my honey from local vendors who sell it in class jars. I find it easier to measure and pour if I warm the honey slightly in the microwave before I weigh it, and then again just before mixing. 

Mise en place:
Preheat oven to 120ºC [250ºF] and arrange the racks to the upper and lower third positions inside the oven.  

Weight the rolled oats, unsweetened coconut, sunflower seeds, slivered almonds, oat bran, and sea salt into a large heat proof bowl and set on a clear work surface. 

Weigh the warm honey, canola oil, water, and vanilla into the measuring cup and set beside the bowl until needed. 

Weight the dried fruit into the smaller mixing bowl and set aside. 

Using a silicone spatula toss the ingredients in the large bowl together, and then push them to the outsides of the bowl to form a well.  

Pour the honey mixture into the well and scrape out the measuring cup.  

Toss or stir together until all of the ingredients are coated. 

Divide onto the two sheet pans, and bake for a total of 1½ hours. 

After 10 minutes have passed, use a spatula or flat edged egg flipper to turn the granola on the pans. Return to the oven, alternating positions from top to bottom.   

Wash and dry the heat proof mixing bowl, and return it to the work surface. 

Bake for an additional 30 minutes, and repeat the above process, alternating the sheet pans top to bottom, and also rotating them 180º. 

At the end of baking remove the sheet pans from the oven. Transfer the warm granola back to the mixing bowl. It WILL stick if you allow it to cool on the pans.  

While still warm, toss with the dried fruit and set aside to cool completely. 

Store at room temperature in an air tight container.

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