Saturday, April 9, 2011

Bowling for Granola

"You must really cook a lot" Leslie said as she looked at my stack of metal bowls. Then she saw the stack of pottery bowls.

"Why do you have both?"

Sometimes when I'm cooking I want the bowl to stay put - when I'm making tuna for sandwiches (okay that's not really cooking) or mixing up a batch of lemon bread.

That's when I use the heavy pottery bowls.

And sometimes I want to be able to lift the bowl with one hand while I scoop out the goodies inside. That's when I use the lighter metal bowls. Like when I'm making granola...

Granola is so easy to make, and so much better for you. Fresher, no preservatives You can choose to add dried blueberries or cranberries, almonds or pecans, or macadamia nuts if you're in a tropical mood. If you leave out the wheat germ it's gluten free. And you can make it as toasty as you want...

I kept Deidre in granola for a while (she has taken the most astounding photographs of my garden) and when I was going on vacation I gave her the recipe. It has since become her entire family's breakfast of choice.

Granola - Makes about 8 cups

1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup honey or maple syrup (I use local organic honey from the farmer's market)
1 cup raw wheat germ 
1 teaspoon kosher salt ( do not use regular salt!)
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract (not the imitation stuff)
4 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups chopped nuts  (I use pecans and/or almonds - sunflower seeds make it taste moldy)
1 cup  dried fruit (I use blueberries but cranberries are good too)
1/2 to 1 1/2 teaspoons Saigon cinnamon (available at Draegers)

Preheat oven to 375°F

In a large metal bowl mix the oil, honey and vanilla, then stir in the wheat germ. Mix well. Add the oats, nuts (raw not toasted or they will burn) cinnamon and salt and smash it together to get the oats mixed with the gooey wheat germ and honey.

Bake 10 minutes. Stir well, scraping the outside edges into the middle (the outside gets brown faster).

Return to the oven for 5 minutes more. Stir, check for color. When the granola is a golden brown even after stirring, remove from oven and stir again, then cool. If you don't stir it when it comes out of the oven it will harden into a brick. I usually do three stir and return to oven cycles, but two may be enough. I like toasty.

Stir in dried fruit, let cool and store in glass jars.

I have no idea how long this keeps, it never lasts very long around here.

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