This week's recipe is from D.I.Y. Delicious (Chronicle), a new book from Vanessa Barrington that brings cooking back to basics with healthy, basic items you can make at home. There's nothing better than homemade granola, so I'll definitely be giving this one a try.

Granola Your Way


Time Required: 10 minutes active; 25 minutes passive
Yield: 2 quarts

There are many advantages to making your own granola. You’ll use less packaging, you’ll save money, and you can completely customize it to your taste and health needs. You’ll never go back to store-bought. Basic ingredients in granola include grain flakes, dried fruit, nuts and seeds, sweetener, and fat, such as butter or vegetable oil. You can embellish with vanilla, coconut, and spices like cinnamon. What follows is a formula to help you create the granola of your dreams, to enjoy every morning.

Ingredients
1/3 to 1/2 cup vegetable oil or butter (as desired)
1/3 to 1/2 cup sweetener (you will need the lesser amount if using agave syrup or honey)
Vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, or cardamom
4 cups flaked grains, such as oatmeal, kamut, rye, etc.
Coconut, wheat germ, nutritional yeast, flax seeds, chia seeds (optional)
2 cups (about 8 ounces) lightly chopped nuts (any proportion)
1 cup chopped dried fruit
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Instructions
In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter (or, if using oil, warm it) and add the sweetener along with vanilla, cinnamon, or other spices you’re using. If using honey for the sweetener, see the variation.

In a large bowl, combine the flaked grains, coconut or wheat germ, seeds, and nuts. Toss to mix. Pour the warmed butter or oil and sweetener over and toss with a large spoon or spatula until evenly and lightly coated.

Transfer the mixture to a large baking sheet and spread out evenly in a thin layer. Bake until evenly browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Stop halfway through and stir the ingredients so that they brown evenly. Remove from the oven, add the dried fruit, and toss to combine. Let the granola cool completely on the baking sheet and store at room temperature in an airtight container. It will stay fresh for up to 3 weeks, stored properly. I store mine in mason jars on the counter. It looks nice and keeps the granola fresh and handy.

Variation:

If using honey, there’s no need to heat the oil first, but you still need to melt the butter (if using). Just whisk the fat together with the vanilla or cinnamon and pour it over the flakes, nuts, and extras, and toss and bake as directed. When you remove the granola from the oven, add the dried fruit, and drizzle the honey over it while still warm, toss to coat, and cool and store as directed.

Note that honey will produce a sticky granola that clumps together. It’s not unpleasant, just more difficult to portion as you can’t pour it, and it’s difficult to scoop.

Mix-and-Match Custom Granola
Here’s where we play. Mix and match the items below to come up with your own dream granola. You’ll want to change it up depending on the season and your spirit of adventure.

Sweetener options (use one):
Brown sugar
Maple syrup
Honey
Agave syrup

Fat options (use one):
Coconut oil
Butter
Vegetable oil
Olive oil

Flaky options (use one or more):
Oat flakes
Kamut flakes
Triticale flakes

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From D.I.Y. Delicious (Chronicle), by Jane Hornby. Reprinted with permission from the publisher. Read our review of this book.

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