Monday, September 12, 2011

Radical Cooking - Make Your Own Granola!

Cooking the new old fashioned way.......
Better, faster, cheaper & healthier

From the Kitchens of Cheesecake Farms

Home Made Granola
with Yogurt and Fresh Fruit

We all love granola.....that 1960's hippy, macro-biotic cereal that's now standard fare on every American breakfast table.

Sure, granola is made from oats (and oats are very healthy) but store bought granola is so high in sugar that you might as well be pouring milk over crumbled oatmeal cookies.

And while we're at it, let's talk cost.

Store bought granola is sky high.... way more money per bowl full than even the most nationally advertised breakfast cereal.

Making your own granola is so - so very easy.

Keep it in the fridge and it's lasts practically forever.

But the best part is that you get to control the amount and type of sugar plus the amount and type of fat for a fraction of the cost of the store bought stuff.

Let's get into the kitchen!

Karla's Home Made Roasted Granola
Make this recipe as written the first time, then, if you have the desire, tweek it to suit your taste.

I like to make it plain (without fruits or nuts) adding whatever I want when I serve it.  This way, I can vary the taste and even use the granola in different ways..... like sprinkling it over hot baked apples or layering it with yogurt.

Once you make your own granola, you'll find tons of yummy uses for it!

Makes about 6 1/2 cups
Pan size not important but an 11 X 15 X 1 inch pan works well

1/4 cup vegetable oil (see Karla's Tip #1 below)
1/4 cup honey (your favorite kind)
2 tablespoons water
4 cups old fashioned rolled oats (regular, uncooked oatmeal - not steel cut - see Karla's Tip #2 below)
1/2 cup dark brown sugar

Position oven rack so granola will roast in center.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees  (yes, 300 degrees).  Lightly coat pan with unflavored cooking spray.

Heat oil, honey and water together till very warm but not hot.

Using a heavy duty mixer, stir oats and sugar together.  Add warmed mixture.  Mix on low speed until mixture looks uniform - about 2 minutes.
Stirring and flipping
the roasting granola

Spread mixture onto prepared pan keeping the mixture crumbly and loosely separated.  Do not pan down.  Mixture may not cover the pan completely. That's OK.

Place pan into the preheated oven.  Roast half an hour.  Remove pan from oven.  Stir and flip the granola so it roasts all over. (A pan can turner works well.  Granola will be loose and in pieces.)

Return to oven.  Roast another 15 minutes.  Repeat stirring and flipping.

Return to oven one last time and roast until granola is a rich brown color (like the color of walnuts or pecans).  Total roasting time is about 1 hour.  Be careful not to over roast or burn the granola.

When done, remove the pan from the oven and stir/flip one last time. This helps remove the moisture from the granola so it stays crisp and doesn't get soggy.

Granola Bar Cookies

When completely cool, store in an air tight container or heavy plastic freezer bag.

Refrigerate or freeze for extended shelf life.


Karla's Tip #1  - Vegetable Oil
Use any plain, unflavored vegetable oil like canola, safflower etc.  Do not use grape seed oil.  Grape seed oil is a very heavy oil and is not suitable for baking.

If you want to use olive oil, use "Light" olive oil. The term "light" refers to the taste of the olive oil - not its fat content.

Light olive oil has no olive taste.  You can use it in cooking and baking when you want the health benefits of olive oil but not the taste.
Extra virgin olive oil, on the other hand, has the most olive taste so it would be awful tasting in this recipe.

Karla's Tip #2 - Oatmeal
We like to use the Quaker brand, old fashioned oatmeal.  The flakes are large an uniform which makes this granola look even better than it tastes.

We've found that other brands (including store brands) can have smashed, broken and pulverized flakes rather than the uniform, large flakes of Quaker old fashioned oatmeal.  You'll never notice the difference unless you compare them side by side.

Mashed flakes may be OK when making traditional, cooked oatmeal cereal but for granola (and cookies, too) we like the look of premium flakes and think they're worth a few extra pennies.

Never use quick cooking or instant oatmeal for this recipe.  Those flakes are thinner and smashed, too, so your granola will not be a crisp.

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