Sunday, February 8, 2009

Ode to oatmeal: The Granola Chronicles

As mentioned in a previous post about my love affair with oatmeal, I also copied in a granola recipe I had made. The recipe, while good, needed some tweaking by FWK.
The amigos, whom I truly love, and think that sitting in crowded SUV with biking clothes, bags, tools, water bottles strewn about is as close to heaven as a man can get, did influence the new improved granola. (Thinking of the crowded SUV reminded me of this past September after the Chequamegon race. The four of us, wet and cold from the race enjoying one of the best meals ever: a big bag of Sun Chips)

While I thought the recipe was good, I thought it lacked depth of flavor. Due to my amigos love for blueberry oatmeal, I added blueberries to the mix.

1 1/4 cup almonds, chopped
3 cups rolled oats-NOT the quick cooking kind
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
2 Tbl wheat germ or wheat bran
2 Tbl ground flax seed
1/2 tsp kosher salt, use only 1/4 tsp for table salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup canola oil

3 oz bag of dried blueberries (about 3/4 cup)
1 cup of craisins
(1 cup raisins, if you prefer)

You really need at least 1 1/2 cups of dried fruit to make an impact on the final results. Dried blueberries are expensive, $5.69 per bag, or I would put 2 bags in a batch. I also saw dried raspberries and was going to buy them, but, they were $5.69 for 2 oz, which works out to over $45 per lb! These were Byerly's prices. I'll have to see what Cub or Target charges.

1. Adjust oven rack to center position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Mix first 8 ingredients together in large bowl.

2. Heat maple syrup and honey together with oil in small saucepan, whisking occasionally until warm. Add vanilla. Pour mixture over dry ingredients; stir with spatula until mixture is thoroughly coated. Turn mixture onto an 11-by-7-inch jelly roll pan, spreading mixture in an even layer. Spraying the pan with non-stick spray first helps clean up.

3. Bake, stirring and respreading mixture into an even layer every 5 minutes, until granola is light golden brown, about 15 minutes. Immediately turn granola onto another jelly roll pan to stop cooking process. Stir in dried fruit, then spread granola evely in pan; set on a wire rack and cool to room temperature. Loosen dried granola with a spatula; store in airtight container.