Saturday, December 17, 2011

CB Cooks: Granola

Walnut cranberry apple (sauce) granola
If I don't think about it, I'll drink an entire pot of coffee in the morning without eating a single thing. I love coffee, and often I feel like that's all I need to get my day started. I've heard it isn't the greatest idea to drink mass quantities of coffee on an empty stomach, so I've been on a mission to find something easy and quick I can eat with my coffee. Sometimes I feel like making some oatmeal (like this fine recipe) but lately it hasn't been doing it for me.

My solution? Granola! It's just baked oatmeal. This is easy and quick to make (I've been making it once a week for the past two weeks... so I guess that's only twice....) and it's a perfect accompaniment to my requisite coffee in the morning.

WHAT YOU NEED for the basic granola recipe
2 cups of oats - the old school kind, but not the steel cut kind
1 cup of syrup/honey/similar stuff in some combination
4-6 tablespoons smooth apple sauce - this is the secret ingredient in my recipe; it is a substitute for oil, and it makes the whole thing taste much nicer and enhances whatever fruit you add
-I bet other types of puréed fruit would be awesome here- even jelly or jam might work
Salt (to taste)

SEASONINGS: To taste, add whatever you want
Lots of cinnamon
A lot of vanilla extract
Ginger might be nice, if you're in to that
Unsweetened cocoa (might burn, so be careful)
Brown sugar (would definitely make things sweeter)
Ground coffee (I might try this next time...)
Ground chile powder (i.e. ancho powder- this would be for the daring- I haven't tried this, but dried chiles are really just spicy dried fruit, it could be amazing)

ADDITIONS: Then you can add stuff like
Hazelnuts (paired with cocoa it'd be like nutella granola)
Dried fruit (like raisins, cranberries, blueberries, pineapple, peaches, mango, etc)
Pepitas would be awesome
Dried coconut (this is really great with coffee)
Peanut butter (not sure if this would work, but it could be great)

1. Combine your syrup/liquid stuff, apple sauce, and seasonings- mix well

2. Pour your liquid mixture into 2 cups of oats, stir until extremely well combined
Plain old oats with light syrup ready for baking

3. Spread out the mixture on a baking sheet, bake for 15 minutes at ~300°F
- If you want toasty nuts, you can add them now
- You could also add any dried fruit now, but they might get kind of hard and chewy by the time your granola is done

4. After 15 minutes, pull the sheet out and stir the whole thing well
- If you want your nuts less toasty and your fruit softer, add that stuff now instead of step #3

5. Return to oven, cook for another
15 minutes: soft, chewy granola
20 minutes: darker, more roasty granola, might be crispy
25 minutes: watch out, you might burn it! It will certainly be crispy

6. It will crisp up a little as it cools

7. Store in something airtight, otherwise it will get stale fast (I use a big zip lock bag- this recipe fills about a third of a gallon bag, at least I think it's a gallon bag)

8. Enjoy!

Sprinkle your homemade granola on other stuff, like ice cream, yogurt, etc.
Form into bars, make your own chewy granola bars
Instead of baking in the oven, add more liquid to the mixture and then fry on a griddle- oat cakes!

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