A Road Map For Granola
Sunday, January 14, 2018 at 1:27PM
Mark Scarbrough in Comfort Food, Vegetarian, breakfast, breakfast, granola, whole-grain breakfast

Not so much a recipe. More like a way to figure out how to make what you want to make. So don't expect anything ordinary here. No standard recipe. But there you have it.

The photo above is by Eric Medsker from our book VEGETARIAN DINNER PARTIES, the one that won the People's Choice award at the International Association of Culinary Professionals and that got nominated for a James Beard award. If you're interested in more about that book, click here.

And catch our podcast on this recipe. A little insane. A little crazy. But hey, it was the middle of the afternoon and we were hungry. Probably for granola. The episode can be found in the media player at the top of the main recipe page of this site (check for it on the center, drop-down menu) or click here for it on iTunes.

Without further ado, said road map for about 8 cups of granola.

STEP 1. Start by dividing your oven into thirds with two racks and heating it to 325F.

STEP 2. Spread 6 cups grain flakes onto two large, lipped baking sheets.

Regular rolled oats (not instant or steel-cut) are the usual here. But don't stand on ceremony. Try barley flakes, wheat flakes, spelt flakes, or even Kamut flakes.

You can mix-and-match to your heart's content--although our favorite combo is 3 or 4 cups rolled oats and the rest some other sort of grain flake. (Look for the weird ones online or at health-food stores or something at large, gourmet supermarkets.)

STEP 3. Toast the grains in the oven, stirring once, until lightly browned and aromatic, about 10 minutes.

STEP 4. Dump the toasted grains into a large bowl and add the following: 1/2 cup powdered non-fat dried milk, 1/2 cup wheat germ, and 6 tablespoons dry sweetener (brown sugar of any sort, turbinado sugar, muscavado sugar, coconut sugar, palm sugar). Also add 3/4 cup chopped nuts of any sort you like, as well as 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon and 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt. (And one option, if you want: also add up to 3/4 cup shredded sweetened or unsweetened coconut.) Stir well.

STEP 5. Now make the liquid sweetener. Again, a road map. Use 2/3 cup oil, 2/3 cup liquid sweetener, and 1 tablespoon vanilla extract.

Oils? Of course, you can go the corn/canola/vegetable/safflower route. These are neutral and don't add a lot. Consider walnut, pecan, almond, or hazelnut oil. These are EXPENSIVE (and go rancid quicky--store in your fridge once opened). You can also be a little parsimonious and use 1/3 cup nut oil + 1/3 cup vegetable oil.

And the liquid sweetener? Pick it: honey, maple syrup, agave sryup, barley malt syrup, sorghum syrup. Right now, our favorites are barley malt for a surprisingly savory granola or sorghum syrup.

In any event, mix the oil, the liquid sweetener, and the vanilla extract in a medium saucepan set over medium heat and bring to a low fizz, stirring occasionally. Pour this hot mixture over the toasted grains and other ingredients. Stir very well until everything is uniformly mixed and coated.

STEP 6. Spread this mixture evenly back onto the two baking sheets. Bake for 10 minutes. Stir well and continue baking until browned and gorgeous, about 10 more minutes.

STEP 7. Set the baking sheets on a large wire rack and divide 3/4 cup dried fruit of your choice between the two sheets. Consider raisins of any sort, dried currants, dried cherries, or dried cranberries. Or use chopped dried apricots, apples, plums, nectarines, the sky's the limit.

Stir the dried fruit into the hot granola and set aside to cool to room temperature without disturbing, about 1 1/2 hours.

Store in a large, sealed container in a cool, dark pantry for up to 3 months.

Article originally appeared on bruceandmark (http://www.bruceandmark.com/).
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