A mother-daughter conversation on food and cooking (mostly)

Friday, April 3, 2015

Homemade Granola

When I was pregnant, I finally started eating breakfast regularly, and now I can't imagine missing it.

And because I'm now breastfeeding and oats are a galactagogue, I started eating a lot of oatmeal. I love oatmeal. I cook basic Publix-brand old fashioned oats with a big pinch of salt, a drizzle of honey and some ground cinnamon, and eat it with milk or soy milk and some kind of fruit, depending on the season. Sometimes it's blueberries, sometimes sliced bananas, sometimes dried prunes cut up with scissors.

But I don't want oatmeal every day. And something I gained a taste for while pregnant was granola. But storebought granola is horribly expensive, especially when you compare it to the cost of basic Publix-brand old fashioned oats. Which, seriously, is almost all it is.

Will has done most of the cooking since Max was born, but granola is one nice, easy thing I can make that scratches my cooking itch. I can mix up a batch and throw it in the oven as soon as Max goes to bed, and it makes the house smell good. One batch lasts me about a week and a half.

Here's my basic recipe.

Mix in a big bowl:
3 cups oats
1/4 cup dark or light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (I like it relatively salty; you could use less)
1/2 cup almonds

Mix in a Pyrex measuring cup:
1/3 cup olive oil
a few tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pour liquid over dry ingredients and mix with hands until thoroughly coated. Press into a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for around 30 minutes, until slightly browned. (Stir partway through if things are looking too uneven.) Let cool on sheet, then remove and toss in any dried fruit (raisins, etc.).

Of course, you can add all kinds of stuff into the granola. Here are some thing I've tried that didn't work:
ground ginger - just didn't do much
cayenne - heat without flavor, didn't work for breakfast
diced dried apricots - meh
an egg - I'd read that adding an egg white would make the granola clump up more, but it just made it tough and not crispy

And here are some that did work:
raw almonds
raw quinoa

The version I've made a few times successfully has cardamom, nutmeg and cinnamon, giving it a sort of chai flavor. I use maybe half a teaspoon of each spice.