Sunday, August 8, 2010

Great Granola

This has become a tried-and-true favorite: when offered around it somehow disappears faster than microwave popcorn, and is great with milk, yogurt, or on its own. It is also almost impossibly easy to make, with about 2 minutes (I'm not kidding) of active prep, with the whole shebang basically ready inside of an hour. To boot: it's cheaper and healthier than store-bought granola, which somehow can cost $6 or $8 per pound.

This recipe evolved from Alton Brown's Granola Bars recipe.

2 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 c. shelled sunflower seeds
1 c. sliced almonds
1/2 c. wheat germ

1/2 c. honey
1/4 c. maple syrup
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tblsp. (unsalted) butter, plus more for pan

1 - 1 1/2 c. dried cranberries and/or other dried fruit

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss the dry ingredients together a cookie sheet with a half-inch lip, and toast for 15 minutes (you will just be able to smell it). Remove from the oven and reduce the heat to 300 degrees.

In a medium saucepan combine honey, maple syrup, vanilla, salt, and 1 tablespoon butter over medium-high heat, stirring until butter is incorporated. Remove from heat and add oat mixture and dried fruit to taste, stirring to coat. Quickly butter the cookie sheet, and, using a rubber spatula, turn the oats-and-honey mixture back onto the pan and spread into a roughly even layer. Return cookie sheet to oven and bake for 25 minutes.

Let the granola cool for about 10 minutes. It will still bend and stick together - use a spatula to lift it off the pan and transfer to a sturdy ziploc or large tupperware. Then, just shake it around until you have the size of granola-gravel you prefer!

(stores in an airtight container for a week or so)

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