Saturday, January 31, 2009

What's Cooking? Granola!

Granola has long been a breakfast favorite of mine. I would make it from scratch on occasion but I always eat it up so quickly no one else gets a chance. Now that we're trying to be more frugal and cereal, especially granola, is so expensive, I decided it was time begin making in on a regular basis. To make it more economical I now buy most of the ingredients in bulk at Costco. Oats, nuts, honey etc, and share the excess with my mother, who taught me the joys of homemade granola at a young age.
Just about the easiest breakfast food ever, granola is so easy to tailor to your preferences. You can't really mess it up unless you burn it, turning it bitter. The key to all the wonderful flavors is toasting the ingredients before baking.
This is a very basic recipe and you can add or subtract to preferences.
About 8 cups.
One container of Quaker rolled oats (about 6 cups) Not instant or 1-minute oats
2 cups mixed nuts and seeds - walnuts, almonds, sunflower, hazelnuts, pecans, cashews etc. Chop larger nuts.
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
pinch of salt and any spice you like (cinnamon, nutmeg etc)
About 3/4 cup honey (I put in almost a full cup for a little more sweetness)
1 cup raisins
1) Preheat oven to 300
2) Heat large skillet over medium heat. Add the oats and toast them until fragrant and turn color slightly, about 5 minutes or so, depending how deep your pan is. Stir frequently. Pour oats into large bowl. Next add the nuts and toast several minutes, add coconut and toast for several minutes.
Next add salt, spices if any, and stir to mix. Add nuts to bowl with oats. Stir in the honey, mixing well.
3) Spread onto 2 cookie sheets and bake for 20-30 minutes, occasionally stirring and rotating pans. Do not let it over-brown.
4) Remove from oven and stir in raisins. Let cool completely before storing.
If you make a half batch you can do step 2 all in the pan, just cook the oats a minute or two less before adding nuts. No need to transfer to a bowl.
I dare you not to have a bowl before it cools completely!

(Apologies for no line breaks. Sometimes blogger likes to have it's own way.)