Saturday, October 4, 2008

Best Granola So Far

The Recipe

6 cups rolled oats (old-fashioned, not instant!)
1 cup chopped almonds
1 cup wheat germ (in the back of the fridge, behind the milk)
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg (optional)
1/3 cup canola oil
2/3 cup maple syrup
1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 300. Mix together all ingredients except dried fruit. Spread out onto 2 cookie sheets. Bake for 35 minutes (total), stirring and turning twice during baking for even browning. Remove from oven and stir in cranberries. Let cool on the sheets, then pack into large jars ( you do save large jars, right? If not, a plastic bin will do.) Makes more than you think and less than you need.

The Story

The kids like granola so occasionally I buy it. Pre-made granola is tricky, however- for all its health-food connotations, it's often high in both fat and sugar. I bought a box a few weeks ago, and youngest complained that it was too sweet.

I'll let that sink in for a moment. A child complained that a breakfast cereal was too sweet. Way, way over the top.

Time to act! I'd made granola before but didn't like the specific recipes I'd found, so time to make my own. I started with the basic one in Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone and went from there. My recipe here is the best ratio of ingredients I've come up with so far.

You may be tempted to make a half recipe because this makes so much, but don't bother. First, you'll lose a bunch while it's cooling on the stovetop, because it smells so good with all that cinnamon- everyone walking through the kitchen will sneak a handful. Second, it's a great snack for after school. Third, it's a nice before bed nibble in lieu of dessert. The list goes on.

A word to the wise- granola (and this granola in particular) is pretty dense, so the first time you have a bowl for breakfast, pour half of what you normally take. Also, give the jar a shake before pouring. The loose flaxseed and wheat germ tend to sink to the bottom.

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