Saturday, February 6, 2010

Granola Epiphany!


We have chunks!!

So after being sent several granola recipes, reading more on the internet, and trying several, I think I made the discovery I’d been seeking: the key to chunky granola is not simply to add more sugar (although at a certain point, that might also work). Rather, what you need to do to make your granola stick together is unlock the naturally glutinous properties of rolled oats. After all, oatmeal sticks together great, doesn’t it? I noticed that several recipes called for heating water or honey before mixing it with the oats. Initially, I thought this was only to make the honey thinner and easier to mix, but when it’s water there’s obviously another motive.

And indeed: mixing warm wet ingredients with oats makes the oats clump together even before you start baking the granola. Case closed. Now…to perfect the rest of it. I used apple cider and molasses because that’s what I had, but I want to try brown rice syrup next time. And coconut! I put coconut in the last (tasty but not clumpy) batch, and it tastes great as it’s toasted.

Granola, Version 2.6.2010

4 c rolled oats
1/4 cup flax seeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup molasses
1/3 c hot apple cider OR (1/3 cup boiling water + 1/8 cup brown sugar)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
2. In a large bowl, stir together dry. In a separate bowl, mix together wet. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients, and stir until evenly coated. Spread in a thin layer on a large baking sheet.
3. Bake for 60 to 90 minutes in the preheated oven. Stir every 30 minutes, until lightly toasted and fragrant. Granola will crisp up more when cooled.

Also worth sharing: the hilariously cute little dishes my dad and stepmom gave me for Christmas.

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