• May 28, 2011

    Homemade Granola

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    Homemade granola; not just for hippies.

    Homemade granola is one of those things that is a world apart from anything you can buy in the store. Lightly sweetened chewy oats clustered with toasted nuts and plump dried fruit is what I’m talking about. Compare that to the over-sweet, pale clumps with a taste slightly reminiscent of the box they were packed in, and you’ll never go back.

    Layer it with a good (read: not nonfat) plain yogurt and fresh fruit, and you’ve got a breakfast that will have you dancing out of bed and into the kitchen when your alarm goes off. Okay, maybe that’s a lofty promise. But I do promise it will be way more exciting than cheerios.

    It’s a great weekend project. Not that it can’t be done on a weeknight. See, the best part about homemade granola (besides eating it) is, it really only takes about 5 minutes of hands-on time. Toss the oats and nuts together with a syrup made of melted butter, sugar and honey. Spread on a baking sheet. Put in a low-heat oven and give it a shake every 15 minutes or so. That’s it.

    In theory, homemade granola will keep for a couple weeks. In theory. I have never experienced it lasting that long.

    Because it gets eaten. Er… I don’t think I had to clarify that.

    Another thing about making homemade granola that makes it so much fun? You don’t really have to follow the recipe. You can swap the brown sugar for maple syrup, swap the cashews for pistachios, swap the cherries for dried cranberries, blueberries, or raisins… you see, it really is a fantastic opportunity to just go wild in the kitchen. WILD.

    I’m in a funny mood today. Not har har, knee-slapper funny. Just… odd. I think it is the weather. I like to blame the weather for lots of things. It is convenient. Bad hair day? The weather. Bad mood day? The weather. I just bumped your fancy car while parallel parking? The weather…

    But SERIOUSLY, people. If you are in a place where Summer is gracing you with its presence, please let me know – I have a suitcase half-packed and I am ready to move at a moment’s notice with the materialization of a good suggestion. Soooo….. suggestions?

    Meanwhile, since summer is evading us, we can at least bring summer to our tastebuds. Open mouth, insert Magnum bar. Silky vanilla bean ice cream enrobed in a thick layer of (GOOD!) Belgian chocolate, either white, dark, or milk. Or, if you are feeling particularly decadent, there is also the option of two layers of chocolate, with gooey caramel in between…

    Be still my beating heart.

    Yes, they are paying me (in ice cream, partly – om nom nom) to help them launch the world-renowned Magnum ice cream bars in Canada.

    But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be going nuts over them anyway.

    And really, I really want a Foodess reader to win the crazy amazing prize, so if you haven’t submitted a video, get your cute bum on that task, stat! There are only 39 entries so far… and SOMEBODY has got to win… and it can’t be me… but it CAN be you… and you like me… so you could take me with you on the $50,000 Holt Renfrew shopping spree and/or the $50,000 luxury vacations… right?

    You should think on that. And to think clearly you need to have eaten breakfast. Enter homemade granola…

    Homemade Granola

    • 2 cups large flake oats

    • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut

    • 1 cup raw almonds

    • 1 cup raw cashews

    • 1/3 cup butter

    • 1/3 cup brown sugar

    • 2 tbsp honey

    • 1 tsp cinnamon

    • 1/2 tsp salt

    • 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped

    • 1/2 cup dried cherries

    1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, combine oats, almonds, coconut, and cashews. Set aside.

    2. Heat butter in the microwave for 1-2 minutes, until melted. Stir in brown sugar, honey, cinnamon and salt. Pour the butter mixture over oat mixture and stir well to combine. Spread granola in an even layer on a large baking sheet.

    3. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown, stirring every 10?15 minutes. Cool completely on baking sheet for clumpy granola. Transfer to a large bowl, gently breaking up large chunks, and stir in apricots and cherries. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

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