Getting Crunchy

20 May

Granola is one of those health foods that really isn’t. Sugar and oil or butter play starring roles. And let’s not forget that nuts, while healthy, are packed with fat and calories.

Yes, granola can punch a caloric punch, but it is one of my favorite foods, especially homemade granola. A bowl of Greek yogurt drizzled with honey and topped with berries and granola is heaven. There are certainly recipes that reduce the amount of sugar and fat, but in my opinion, they compromise on flavor and texture. I’d rather enjoy a smaller serving of the “real” stuff.

Surprisingly, NPR.com is a great source for recipes. One day I was perusing the website and came across a recipe for “Indulgent Granola” which originated from Estadio in Washington, DC. I finally got around to whipping up a batch last night with a few modifications, mainly to eliminate the butter and reduce the amount of salt. I’m still partial to my favorite stand-by recipe from Alton Brown, but this recipe is delightful. I gotta hurry and finish up this post so I can dig into a bowl, which I’ll be topping with fresh strawberries and almond milk. 🙂

Indulgent Granola

Adapted from this recipe from NPR. Makes approximately 10 cups

Ingredients

8 cups rolled oats (not quick-cooking or instant)

2 cups nuts, chopped (I used walnuts and pecans)

1 cup golden brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons water

1/2 cup honey

2/3 cup canola oil

Raisins (optional) — Dried cranberries, bananas, apples and mangoes would be good too

Directions

Position racks in middle of oven and preheat to 300 degrees. Lightly spray 2 large baking sheets with nonstick spray or line with parchment paper. Mix oats, nuts, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and cardamom in large bowl.

Add white sugar to a small saucepan over medium heat and spread evenly across the bottom of the pan. Add approximately 2 tablespoons of water and stir until the mixture reaches a boil. Keep the mixture moving until it begins to turn brown. Then, add honey and oil. The mixture might seize up, but keep stirring and eventually the caramelized sugar will melt again. This process will add a caramel flavor to the granola and is worth the extra step.

Pour hot mixture over oats and toss until thoroughly mixed.  Spread granola on prepared baking sheets. Bake until golden brown and fragrant, about 30-35 minutes. Rotate pans halfway through.

If adding dried fruit, cool granola slightly then pour into large bowl. Add dried fruit, toss gently to mix then cool thoroughly. If not adding fruit, let granola cool thoroughly on pans. Store in an airtight container.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: