Thursday, February 24, 2011

More Granola

An unoriginal way to pose granola
I started this post nearly a year ago - it took me that long to work a few things out in the recipe. I was trying to evoke the bar that my favorite restaurant makes; it's really chewy and I love the texture.  Its just too sweet for my palate (yes, I said something was too sweet for me. It happens, not often, but it happens). 

The process of making granola requires a judicious mind.  My tendency is to get carried away and toss in everything but the kitchen sink. When the results come in, I have to say, I'm not a fan of that approach. When I plan it out and stick to something more unified I'm always happier.  

This time, I began with my favorite dried fruit (because of course everyone ranks their favorites, right? My rankings: tart cherries, cranberries, golden raisins. Favorite foods to add to other foods? Whether the dish is savory or sweet, mine are: jam, hot peppers, cheese). I expanded from there: what would be good with dried tart cherries? Another stone fruit: apricots. Then I decided almonds would complement those two, and added sesame seeds (including black ones for visual interest), a few sunflower seeds, and oats. 
Granola in its infancy
No, this isn't hard-it might not be as easy as this (okay, its easier-no eggs) and maybe I wouldn't recommend my brother make it (he's never been great with ovens. Frozen pizza incident of '99 I'm looking at you).  It will make your kitchen smell lovely. And you won't miss breakfast for the next week or so. 

J Fierce's Chewy Granola 
psst: try C Fierce's Crunchy Granola, if you are extra adventurous
4 cups rolled oats
2 cups mixed nuts 
My mix:
  • 1 cup slivered almonds 
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup cashews 
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • Yes, I am aware that photo has coconut in it. 
  • No, there is none in this recipe. 
  • I started this post a year ago. 
  • Feel free to add some.
  • I bet it would be good with a papaya-mango mix. 
2 cups dried fruit
My mix:
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1 cup tart cherries
  • 1/2 cup apricots
1/2 teaspoon orange peel
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ginger
3/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil

Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Pour wet ingredients on top and stir until blended. 

Pour mixture into a jelly roll pan lined with parchment paper. Put a piece of wax paper that fits the top of the pan and press the mixture down until it fits in (Keeps your hands from getting too messy). Remove the wax paper before putting the pan in the oven (Ahem, Frozen Pizza Incident of '99)

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Bake for 24-30 minutes, until the top is golden brown and it smells like granola. Am I the only person who can tell whether something is done by the smell of it?

Let cool and break into chunks. I keep mine in an airtight container at room temperature. It also freezes just fine. 

Ideas for fruit/nut pairings:
  • macadamia nut, pineapple, papaya, add nutmeg or allspice
  • walnut, fig, date
  • pecan, apple, lots more cinnamon

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