Tuesday, June 14, 2011
We have been on a granola kick for about 6 months now, and buying it at the store was getting really expensive! When we had the time to drive out to Costco we'd pick up a big box for a pretty decent price, but if we didn't have time to make the trip we'd have to buy it at the regular grocery store which, even from the bulk section, is not a good value at all, especially when I insist on buying a high quality kind without fillers or refined sugars.
So this was my first attempt at making it from scratch. Turns out, it's a piece of cake! Seriously, it takes about half an hour, and it makes enough to last us about two weeks. I used a recipe from America's Test Kitchen, making just a couple of changes based on my personal preferences. There is a lot of wiggle room with granola though. Basically you are just mixing together oats, nuts, seeds, and dried fruits to your liking, adding some sweeteners, and baking in the oven until toasty and crisp.
One thing I changed from the original recipe was to grind up some of the oats before mixing them in with the rest of the ingredients. My friend at work said this helps make the granola chunkier, so I tried it with the second batch I made. I did notice that it was a little chunkier, which I liked, so I'm going to continue to do that with future batches.
I've estimated that two tablespoons of this granola is about 2 WW Points+. It's helpful for me to think of it more as a condiment. I like to sprinkle it over my morning bowl of Cheerios or plain yogurt to add some flavor and healthy fats.
What ingredients do you like in your granola? What's your favorite way to eat it?
adapted from America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook
makes about 7 cups
Notes: Since this granola has a shorter shelf life than a store-bought product, it only lasts about a week stored in an airtight container at room temperature. It does freeze well, however, so I store half of my batch in the freezer in a sturdy ziplock bag and just take it out and let it thaw on the counter once we've finished the first half.
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/4 cup flax seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup honey
1 cup dried cranberries or raisins
Make sure you have an oven rack adjusted to the middle position and preheat the oven to 325 F.
Measure out 1/2 cup of the oats and grind them in a small coffee grinder or food processor. Add them to a large bowl along with the remaining rolled oats, walnuts, coconut, almonds, flax seeds, and sunflower seeds. Toss the ingredients together to combine.
To a small saucepan add the oil, maple syrup, and honey. Warm this mixture over low heat for a few minutes, then add to the large bowl of dry ingredients and toss to coat.
Spread the granola in an even layer over a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until the mixture has turned a light golden brown. Remove from the oven and stir in the cranberries or raisins. Let the granola cool to room temperature. It will continue to crisp up during this time. Loosen the granola with a spatula. Store in an airtight container for up to one week (see note above regarding freezing).