Friday, July 20, 2012

To Make Granola

I am not willing to turn on the oven for much of anything during these super-hot-melt-your-brain days of summer. Except for Granola. I will happily turn crank that baby on and suffer through the 20 degree temperature increase from the convection fans for granola. Anytime. Just so I can eat it.

I know there are a lot of recipes out there that are probably better than mine. I made it up based on a memory of making granola with my grandmother when I was 13. As it's been about 26 years, forgive me if I don't remember all the details. However, it turns out yummy enough that I'm more than happy to eat it with plain yogurt and fresh fruit from my yard.

So, for those interested, below is my recipe.Fair warning, I'm not a cook. When I make something like this, I pretty much wing it, so there will be no measurements listed because I have NO clue what the measurements are.

six-grain. Now, I do not remember where my six-grain supply came from. I dry-packed it with a bunch of women one year when we were doing food storage. So if you are resourceful and smart and into the whole food storage thing, you might know someone who can get you six-grain, or you can research it and find it, or whatever. I'm not that into it, so when my supply is used up, I will use plain rolled oats, which I happen to know work just as well, since that's what my grandma used when I was little.

honey. I use at least half to 3/4 of a 16 oz jar of honey every time I make this. So if you plan to make this a lot, buy a case of it.

The rest of the stuff is optional:

raisins. If you're not a raisin fan (why are you making granola if you don't like raisins??) you obviously don't have to add these in. I like them for the texture they add. I'm sure you can use craisins or any dried fruit of your choice.

raw nuts of your choice. sunflower seeds, almonds, etc. If you're allergic, please don't put them in your food. And if you're like my daughter and can't stand the taste of almonds, then I suggest not adding them, either. Unless you just plan on baking this and not eating it.

shredded coconut.(I have to leave this out of half my granola because I have a daughter who not only cannot stand almonds, but she can't stand coconut, either. Which means she misses out on the world's greatest candy bar ever, the Almond Joy. She gets this from her father, I'm sure.)


preheat your oven to 250. When I make this, I like to use a 9x12 deep baking dish, because oats and nuts and stuff have a tendency to be messy, and it's easier for me to control the mess with a deep pan. I know you can do this on a cookie sheet, but I think you have to be somewhat god-like in the kitchen, like my grandmother. I can't do it without dumping half the food on the bottom of the oven. So go with whatever you're comfortable with.

Now, think about lasagna for a minute. You know how it's layers of pasta and sauce and cheese? That's what we're gonna do, except with oats, nuts, raisins, and honey.

A - spread a layer of oats over the bottom of your pan, I usually do about 1/4 of an inch deep, so I can't see the metal.

B - sprinkle on the nuts

C - sprinkle on the coconut

D - sprinkle on the raisins

E - cover it with honey

--- this should not make too big of a layer, so you're going to repeat steps A-E at least three times, possibly four.  stop before you reach the top of your pan, though. stop with at least a half inch, that way you'll be able to stir when it's time.

F - Now, pop your pan into the oven for ten minutes. While that's toasting, figure out which spoon or utensil you're going to use to stir with, and cover the business end with a layer of butter. I know, this is messy, but  oats and company won't stick to the spoon nearly so badly when it's covered with butter. Trust me, this is fantastic advice, and everytime I make granola I send happy gratitude thoughts toward whichever blogger I read that taught this trick.

G - When your timer goes off, stir. try to get as many of the oats from the bottom up to the top so they can have a turn under the toasting elements of your oven. If it's not sticking together enough, add more honey at this point.

Put it back in the oven. repeat steps F and G at least twice, so it bakes at least twenty minutes. I find that thirty minutes is optimal for my current granola, so I do this set of steps twice.

When you've deicded it's done, pull it out, put it into a container of your choice. Preferably one that is air-tight, like a zip-lock gallon bag or some cool tupperware cereal holder thing. Then let cool. If you let it cool in the pan, you're going to have oats stuck to the pan in hardened or dried honey. It's much easier and less mess to clean if you do this while it's hot.

Ok. That's granola. Add fresh fruit to your hearts content!  The next time I make some, I'll take pictures of the different steps and add them into this post.

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