Monday, January 27, 2014

Granola

Granola is an adjective I often use to describe overly boho girls who wear hemp and hug trees and sort of grungy guys with heavy dreadlocks and tie-dyed t-shirts who like to play hacky sack. I threw the term around a lot while I was living in Ithaca.

But granola (the noun) is also a delicious, crunchy breakfast treat and that's what I'm sharing today. This version isn't necessarily the healthiest recipe on the planet, but it tastes really good and that's the main component that matters to me. Oats have lots of fiber so even if you're taking in a few calories from the sugar, at least you'll feel full for hours and your BMs will be regular. TMI? Whatever, man. It's natural so get over it.
5 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup chopped nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, cashews, peanuts, etc.) OR 1 additional cup of oats if you don't want to use nuts
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup maple syrup or honey or agave nectar
½ cup canola oil
*optional: you can add dried fruits and seeds to the granola after it's been baked; e.g. dried cranberries, raisins, chia seeds, banana chips, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds,

I used maple syrup for my granola but you could use honey or agave nectar instead. Whatever you prefer. Or you know what? You could use a bit of each. I went with the maple syrup because that's what I felt like using on this particular day.
If you choose to use nuts in your granola, chop them up into small pieces so that they can get distributed nicely with the little oats.
In a large bowl, combine the nuts, oats, brown sugar, and salt.
Measure out the maple syrup (or honey or agave nectar) and oil and then add both to the bowl.
Mix the ingredients together until everything is well incorporated. All of the oats should look "wet" and there should be no glaring dry spots or any large clumps of brown sugar.
Spread the granola mixture out onto two sheet pans, lined with either Silpats or parchment paper, and bake at 350F for 30 minutes. After about 15 minutes, toss the granola around a bit to make sure it browns evenly. Oh, and maybe you should switch the racks the pans are on; move the pan on the top rack to the bottom rack and the pan on the bottom rack to the top rack.
Here's just a quick nutritional breakdown for this particular recipe. It's not super super exact but it's a good approximation. Though there is quite a bit of sugar, there's still a substantial amount of protein and fiber. There are much worse things you could shove down your piehole in the morning. I mean, you could certainly eat this for breakfast without feeling like a slob, you know? Especially if you just sprinkle a handful on top of a big blob of yogurt. Yum.
IngredientsServing SizeCaloriesFat (g)Cholesterol (mg)Sodium (mg)Carbohydrates (g)Fiber (g)Sugar (g)Protein (g)
old fashioned oats5 cups15003000270401050
nuts6 oz.489840036216.636
brown sugar1/2 cup360000960960
maple syrup1/2 cup4000014530530
canola oil1/2 cup960112000000
Totals370922601445561165.686
Per 1/2 cup serving309.118.901.2385.113.87.2
Once the granola is baked, you might end up with a few big pieces, which I love. I like to break them up gently so that they're still quite big. It's awesome to stumble upon a big chunk mixed in with the crumby ones.
Let the granola cool sufficiently (it will take about 30 minutes) before storing it in an air tight container. The granola will keep for about 2 weeks, but it shouldn't last that long! If it starts to go stale, you can always throw it back on a sheet pan and stick it in the oven for a few minutes to get the crunchy back.

This stuff is crunchy and sweet and nutty and it's amazing for breakfast. I'll be sharing a simple way to prepare it for breakfast tomorrow so come back for that.

Here's the recipe page:

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