07 July 2009

a tale of two granolas

My love for the bulk section at Commodities and my general disappointment with boxed cereal leads me to this...

Orange Cardamom Pistachio-Date Granola
Makes About 6 Cups

5 cups organic rolled oats (thick or regular)
½ teaspoon sea salt
½-1 teaspoon ground cardamom
½-1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons organic orange oil/flavoring
1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
½ cup chopped pistachios
1/3 cup unsweetened shredded or flaked coconut
1/3 cup chopped almonds
½ cup chopped dried dates
1/3 cup chopped organic apricots
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
3 tablespoons wheat germ
½ cup melted virgin coconut oil or organic canola oil
¼ cup local honey (use agave or maple as vegan substitute)
¼ cup dark agave nectar
1-2 tablespoons unsulphured molasses

1. Preheat oven to 325ºF.
2. In a large bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients and nuts and fruit together.
3. Stir in the oil and sweeteners until well combined.
4. Spread the mixture out on one or two sheet pans and bake for about 40 minutes, or until a rich golden brown and the mixture seems to have dried out.
5. Remove pans from oven and allow to cool on counter for at least 30 minutes before transferring granola to airtight container.

Note: This makes the dried fruit rather firm and a bit crunchy. If you prefer, you can add the dried fruits in after the granola has baked. Or do half and half, like I do!

Your All Purpose Fruit + Nut Granola
Makes About 9 Cups

5 cups organic rolled oats
½ teaspoon sea salt
dash each of: cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves
¼ cup wheat germ
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
½ cup unsweetened shredded or flaked coconut
½ cup chopped apricots
½ cup raisins
2/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup chopped almonds
1/3 cup pecans
1/3 cup walnuts
½ cup melted virgin coconut oil or organic canola oil
1/3 cup dark agave nectar
1/3 cup local honey
¼ cup local grade b maple syrup
2-3 tablespoons unsulphured molasses
2 T flax seeds, lightly ground

1. Follow instructions as above, except add flax seeds after you've baked the granola. The beneficial oils in flax seeds are burned off if heated.

Note: Be flexible with this recipe. Use whatever dried fruit and nuts strike your fancy. Add more spices if you like. Have fun!

As you can see, these recipes make big batches. That's good for you because granola keeps well for a long period of time so long as properly stored, or, according to Joy of Cooking, you can freeze your granola for extended keeping, about 3-4 months. I personally like to give granola as presents. It looks great in a glass canning jar or in a cute bag with a bow!

Most store bought granola is incredibly expensive, has a bunch of cane sugar in it (if not worse), and is low on all the fruity and nutty bits-- and once you see how easy it is to make your own customized granola, you'll never go back to store-bought!

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