Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Granola: What Took Me So Long?

I love granola.  It's true, it's an oatmeal raisin cookie as cereal.  Crunchy!  Sweet!  Sticky!  Nutty!  Filling!  Good for you!  What's not to love?

Well, one, it's often a bit pricy, and two, and more of a problem, the increased paranoia of peanut or cashew or pecan exposure.  Granola mixes come in a wide variety of styles and ingredients, and even when I obsessively scan the ingredient list, I'm always nervous about cross-contamination.  It kind of takes away from the enjoyment of eating when, in the back of your mind, you're a little worried about DEATH.

So, for a long time, I've been thinking I should just make my own granola, so I can chug my granola with the peace of mind knowing that no rogue nut is lurking inside.

But I put it off.  Most recipes called for what seemed like massive amounts of oats and a dizzying array of dried fruit.  I never could remember to pick up unsweetened coconut.  I had the wrong type of oats.  I was nervous.

The other day, I figured I'd give it a try anyway to see what happened.  I started with a recipe but changed everything, to go with what I had in the kitchen.  Quick oats instead of rolled oats.  No nuts at all.  Honey instead of maple syrup.  Olive oil instead of canola. Just raisins instead of a selection of four other kinds of dried fruit.  Small batch to mitigate any potential losses.  So my very simple recipe was just this:

2 cups of quick oats + 1/2 cup brown sugar + 2 T olive oil + 1/4 cup honey. 

Mixed.  Spread on a baking sheet.  Toasted in a 300 degree oven for 30 minutes (stirred every ten minutes). 1/2 cup of raisins stirred in afterwards. 

OMG, it totally worked.
I guess I was really not expecting it to work at all.  But look!  It made ... granola!  Very basic, but it still had the crunch, it still had the sweet, it still had the fiber.  And it was warm!

It made just a little jar, that lasted about a day, but having gotten over my fear of granola recipes, I am excited to make more.  Especially now that I know that granola can be fairly forgiving as far as adaptation, additions, and subtractions are concerned.

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