Sunday, February 28, 2016

Granola, anyone?

Peanut, raisin, chocolate chip granola.

Who doesn't love granola? 

There are a plethora of uses for the sweet,  crunchy and delectable tidbits. I have sprinkled it on my homemade soy Greek yogurt and on Trader Joe's soy vanilla ice-cream. I've even eaten it straight up out of the container. Some people claim that it is not healthy because of it's high fat & sugar content. I also struggle to find granola without nuts or sunflower oil, which are the things that I am deathly allergic to. Such a drama queen! But there is no reason for  me to despair. I can make my own, of course! 

"But why, Ellie, would I want to take 30 minutes out of my life to make it, when I can grab a bag off the shelf?" 

Here's why:

You control the quality of the ingredients: Organic  and NON-GMO or not. 

You control the amount of fat and sugar.

And my favorite reason: You can customize it to your liking. Add nuts, raisins, chocolate chips. Or don't add anything!

I have not figured out the cost per batch, but I am pretty sure it costs less to make your own.

Here's what you need:

An 8" x 8" brownie pan, or 11" x 7" pan. Lightly spray the bottom of the pan with your oil mister using vegetable, safflower or sunflower oil. Or cover the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.

Dry Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup of rolled oats (not instant)
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt (optional)
3 Tbsp of flour (regular or gluten free) ONLY, if you are making  granola bars. I use white whole wheat flour for everything.

Your add ins. These are optional. Add one, some or none: 
1/2 cup raisins, raisins or other dried fruit
1/2 cup of almonds or peanuts or cashews
1/2 cup of chocolate chips
1 Tbsp chia seeds
1 Tbsp ground flax seeds

Wet Ingredients:
1/4 cup of packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 Tbsp of maple syrup
2 - 6 Tbsp of oil (optional, see note below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add your add ins to this bowl and stir until well combined. In a small bowl mix your wet ingredients thoroughly. Add the wet to the dry and mix well. Add to prepared pan and if you have not added any oil to the mix you can spray the top of the granola lightly with your oil mister. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown. Please stir it once after 10 minutes in the oven. Let it cool in the pan and then place in a sealed container. Will keep for at least a week, but I doubt it will last that long!

The oil is totally optional, however if you want to make a bar that will hold together, you will need to add all of it (6 Tbsp). To make granola bars, also add the 3 Tbsp of flour to the dry ingredients. I suggest using parchment paper in your pan to make it easier to remove the entire block from the pan. When your block is totally cooled, cut into 8 individual bars.
A little bit of oil does make a yummier batch of granola, but if you are trying to avoid any added fat; the recipe works well without it.

My granola is based on this granola bar recipe, by Jamie Geller, click on the link for more ideas!

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