Both my daughter and I “lose” our appetites come warm weather. We eat tons of fruit, which doesn’t do much for balanced eating. This year we stumbled on what I think is going to be the mainstay of our summer diet – yogurt, flax seeds/meal, nuts and fruit. We started out with dried fruit, but we got some absolutely fabulous berries this week and my favorite is vanilla yogurt with blackberries and – now – granola.
The granola was a spur of the moment thing last night. I’ve been thinking for a while that I needed to try making some again since it’s been years. One thing I’ve discovered is that to get the nice crispy crunch I like in granola I have to have some oil. The beauty of making it your self is that you can modify the amount (and type) of oil and sugar/sweetening used, the main pitfalls of commercially available granola.
The other day Jess found a site where you can “make” your own granola, choosing from a pretty wide selection of grains, nuts, seeds, fruits and other additives (really, Heath bits in my granola??). And I thought about all the goodies in my pantry right now. And thus was born what will probably be the staple of our summer diet, because this will go with just about any fruit.
The beauty is that I finally found a ratio for oil/water that isn’t too bad and makes a nice crispy crunchy granola, so no matter how I digress from the original recipe, as long as I use those proportions it should turn out just fine! The proportions are 1 part oil, 1 part honey/applesauce, and 1 part juice. I used pineapple juice, pretty much because that was the only fruit juice I had. It gave a little tang to the granola. I think I’d probably recommend something a little less acidic though.
You can use about any combination of flaked grains, seeds and nuts that strikes your fancy. I’ve included the recipe with the mix that I used. I want to get some rye flakes and try it with those! I read an article that said you could pop amaranth, so I thought that would be tasty. However, it didn’t really pop very well. I added it anyway, and it works, more or less. It doesn’t stay in the granola bits too well though, so I’m going to have a bunch of amaranth when I get to the bottom of the bag of granola.
I also kept this “basic”, meaning I didn’t add any dried fruits or strong flavors with the intention that we could then customize our granola later with whatever fruit we had on hand.
4 c. rolled oats
1/4 c. toasted flax seeds
1/4 c. amaranth or millet
1 c. walnut pieces
1 c. pecan pieces
1/2 c. unsweetened, shredded coconut
1/4 c. dark brown sugar
1/4 c. buckwheat flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cardamom
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
2 tsps vanilla extract
1/2 c. oil (I splurged and used 2 TBS melted butter in this!)
1/2 c. fruit juice
1/2 c. honey, sorghum or molasses (remember that the darker the sweetener the darker the granola will be when done baking, so don’t panic if it’s really dark – if you used molasses! I used sorghum, and it came out quite dark).
Preheat oven to 375F.
Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Mix the wet ingredients in a measuring cup. Pour over dry ingredients and mix it all together. Spread out on cookie sheets (I used 2) and bake for 40-45 minutes, stirring 2-3 times during baking so the edges don’t get burned. The granola still seemed a little bit on the wet side to me at the end of 45 minutes, but was really dark, so I took it out. Once it cooled it was plenty dry and crispy.
Cool completely and store in an airtight container.
I think we’ve used half of it already – it makes a great snack to just grab a handful too!