My super awesome granola

 

I am totally taking bragging rights on my granola.

Here’s the scoop. Last summer, I made my very first batch of the toasted-oat, yummy goodness. You may wonder why would I go through all that trouble when I could just walk to the store and buy a box? Well, I couldn’t justify the amount of money to pay for the commercial stuff, because, frankly, it isn’t all that good. And if you grab a box with raisins, yuck! I am not disrespecting the raisin, but let’s face it: the raisins found in a box of granola are so hard to chew, it feels like they are pulling the fillings right out of my teeth.

I glanced at a recipe that was on joyofbaking.com, which looked really simple, and I modified it to my liking.

The benefit of this basic recipe is that you can add what ever you like: pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, pecans, etc. It is great plain, with milk or on top of yogurt.

It is so easy you’ll wonder why you haven’t made it before…

Super Awesome Granola

3 cups of old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup of coconut
1 cup of sliced almonds
¼ cup of wheat germ
½ tablespoon of cinnamon
¼ teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons of coconut oil (melted)
¼ cup of maple syrup
¼ cup of honey
1 cup of dried fruit (I usually use cherries or cranberries)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees (F). Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, mix together oats, coconut, almonds, wheat germ, cinnamon and salt.

In a small bowl, mix together oil, syrup and honey.

Pour the liquid over dry ingredients, and mix to coat. Spread into prepared pan, and bake 30-45 minutes or until golden brown. Stir every 10-15 minutes. The more it browns, the crunchier it will be. Cool on a wire rack. It will crisp up as it dries, so break up any large clumps while mixture is warm. Add dried fruit and mix well. Place in an air-tight container and store in the refrigerator.

Have you attempted to make granola before? If so, how did it turn out?

© 2012 – Lynne Cobb

Inspired to write by a chewy granola bar…

“Marge, it’s 3 a.m. Shouldn’t you be baking?” – Homer Simpson

I have a huge announcement to make that will come as no big surprise…some days I just can’t get it into gear.

Like today. I have a few writing projects I was working on, which seemed to be going nowhere – and fast. And when re-reading my work, both pieces sounded flat and boring and I was getting a wee bit agitated. Staring into space, with no direction, or organization and wondering what to do next, I witnessed the laundry pile growing higher – right before my very eyes. Lugging the ever-expanding basket down the steps, I threw a load in the machine. Turning around, I glanced at the pantry shelf.

Big mistake. I turned my head. I looked away. It didn’t work. Game over. The can of sweetened condensed milk won.

I had bought it a few weeks ago to try out a recipe I clipped at out of a magazine eleven months ago. (On a sorting binge, I found it again last week!) Thinking I have adult ADHD, I raced up the steps, can in hand, and stopped everything I was doing to make granola bars. Nevermind the cleanser drying to a hard finish in the tub, or the mounds of laundry sitting, in damp eagerness, waiting for my return to the basement. Forget the sticky notes and voicemails and 17 windows open all at once on the laptop. I stopped it all and baked. I was energized and motivated and multi-tasking and modifying and measuring and making an enormous mess.

Whew! Although it looked like a tornado blew through the kitchen, apparently, I needed a creative break to re-engage my brain. It all hit me as the cinnamony-aroma of the sweet smell of success enveloped the kitchen and wafted towards me. My a-ha moment revealed that I wasn’t multi-tasking at all! I was tackling a project that I knew I could finish. It took my mind off of all my other incomplete projects, giving me the chance to feel creatively complete. While the granola bars baked, I mixed up a batch of granola, switched laundry and finished a few other mundane chores.  Talk about a win-win: I benefitted from freeing my mind so that I could get back to writing; my family benefitted from a yummy snack, and you, you very lucky readers, you get to benefit from my modified recipe that turned out super scrumptious.

Let me know if you give these a try. I found the original recipe in the USA Weekend magazine. Eleven months ago.

Ooey, Gooey, Chewy Granola Bars

2 cups of rolled oats

1/4 cup of wheat germ

1/2 cup of chocolate chips

3/4 cup of dried cranberries (or dried fruit of your choice)

1 can (14 oz) of sweetened condensed milk

cinnamon sugar

(Note: 1 cup of almonds were part of the original recipe)

Adjust oven rack to a lower-middle position and pre-heat oven to 325. Grease a 9″ square pan (I used an 8″ pan and baked a little longer.) I then lined the pan with greased foil (so I could use foil to lift bars from pan) and set pan aside.

Mix all ingredients (except cinnamon sugar) and pat down into prepared, foil-lined pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake about 30 minutes (35-40 if using 8″ pan). Cool to room temperature, then place pan into freezer until firm.

To cut easier, I placed a piece of parchment paper on my wooden cutting board, removed foil and using a sharp knife, carefully cut into 8 bars. You can make them smaller, but I have teenagers and they don’t care much for “fun size” goodies 🙂

I wrapped them individually, but you can store them in an air-tight container. They should last a week without refrigeration or freezing, but I am betting my stash will be gone in three days.

Enjoy!

© 2012 – Lynne Cobb