One of my great friends is the person who introduced me to blogging, and got me started with French Fridays with Dorie, an online cooking community. When we last had book club at her house, she then introduced me to the cookbook Smitten Kitchen. I just had to stop on my way home to pick it up (she’d made the incredibly good butternut squash galette that day). When I got it home though, and looked through it again, I almost took it back. Really? all of those baked goods (exactly what I don’t need!). But I set it aside until one evening I decided that I should try out the granola recipe. I’d never made home-made granola before. I’m not even sure why I tried it. It was a revelation!
I’ve made this several times, and have tweaked the recipe some for my tastes. I will likely never buy ready-made granola again. This is simple and pure..
3 c old-fashioned rolled oats
1 c unsweetened coconut (I use the big flakes)
1 c raw, natural almonds
2 T olive oil
1/2 c grade-B maple syrup
1/2 t salt
1/2 t (or more!) Vietnamese cinnamon
1 egg white
The nuts get chopped coarsely – I like to have texture, I don’t get fancy about it – so I don’t use the processor. Then the dry ingredients get mixed together. I use a pretty big bowl for this, as it can get a little messy (well, if you’re me).
The oil and syrup are added next and mixed in well. The recipe calls for the egg white to be beaten until fluffy, and then blended in. This is so that you end up with big chunks. Well, I never do, and I’m not sure that I care – I may end up eliminating the white, just to make this vegan. But here’s what it should look like:
This all gets put onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, and baked at 300 degrees for a total of 45 minutes – stir it (or turn it over, I suppose) about half-way through. It should look nice and golden, but not too dark when it’s ready (I’ve made the mistake of getting it too dark before – we ate the batch, but it wasn’t nearly as good). The goal is to get the nuts, coconut and oats nice and crispy, but not overly toasted so you can still taste their flavors.
This makes a good amount. It can be frozen, but I never do. My typical go-to breakfast has been fresh berries (or if they’re not in season, an apple compote), a half-cup of yogurt, and then a quarter-cup of this granola. It’s beautiful, healthful and a great way to start the day. OK, I’ll admit it, mine usually doesn’t look quite this fancy (though I did make a good impression when I showed up at the office with this!).
This is really a flavorful granola – not too sweet, but is packed with some power-house ingredients. Once you try making your own granola, see how easy it is, and how few “added” ingredients are in there – I think you might just become a convert.