Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Breakfast of Champions

Cereal is so expensive! And I like the good stuff, with real ingredients--nothing frosted or loopy or colorful. Last year, in an effort to save money and ensure my breakfast contains ingredients I approve, I started making my own granola. I gathered several recipes from Food and Wine magazine and an episode of Good Eats by Alton Brown and started testing them out. I tried all different varieties and made batches to share with friends and family over the holidays. I'm no longer interested in buying granola from the store! I make big batches and store them in the rolled oats containers I emptied for the recipe. Here's a basic formula I like, with ingredient suggestions and some tasty combinations.

egg whites, oil, sweetener, salt
 Homemade Granola

2 egg whites
1/4 cup oil
1/4-1/3 cup sweetener
3 generous cups of rolled oats (quick not instant)
1 1/3 cup chopped nuts
1/3 cup ground flaxseed
1 cup dried fruit
generous pinch of salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 250.
  3. Whisk your "binders" together: egg whites, oil and sweetener, until light and bubbly. Add a generous pinch of salt and whisk to blend.
  4. Add rolled oats, nuts and flaxseed and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon.
  5. Line a large 1" rimmed baking pan with parchment paper, nonstick spray or brush with oil. Spread your granola mixture evenly with the spoon.
    chopped nuts and ground raw flaxseed
  7. Bake in preheated oven checking every 10 minutes to rotate the pan and run a spatula through for even toasting. Total baking time is 30-40 minutes depending on your toasty and crunchy preference.
  8. Transfer baked granola to a clean rimmed baking pan set atop a cooling rack. Sprinkle with dried fruit and let cool completely before storing or enjoying.
Oil: Regular olive oil works fine, so does canola or vegetable oil. Try walnut oil for a nuttier flavor.

Sweeteners: Agave nectar, dark or light brown sugar, maple syrup. Maple syrup is really fragrant and my favorite to use. Agave nectar is sweeter than sugar, so you may need less.

Nuts: Almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts. I always have almonds and walnuts in the pantry. I prefer to chop them myself but you can purchase blanched or slivered almonds and already chopped other nuts. Just make sure they're raw--if they're roasted and you bake them again, they might be too bitter.

toasted granola
Dried Fruit: Apricots, bananas, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, dates, raisins, strawberries. Other tropical fruit like pineapple, mango, or papaya might be good too.

Extras: Candied ginger, cinnamon, coconut flakes, flaxseed, roasted pumpkin seeds, nutmeg. All of these would be added while your granola is cooling, except the if the flaxseed is raw. Roasted flaxseed (sometimes called "golden") would be added during cooling.

Yummy Combinations:

Combo 1: Dates, raisins, almonds, pecans.

Combo 2: Apricots, cherries, almonds.

Combo 3: Cranberries, almonds, walnuts, ginger.

Keep in mind what all of your ingredients are as you make granola. Cranberries, for example, are tart so you may prefer an extra tablespoon of sweetener. But if you're using sweetened coconut, that might compensate. I'd say trial and error is the best way to experiment, but it's really hard to make "errors"!

dates, almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds

1 comment:

  1. mmm... now that the holidays are fast approaching, I hope you post about your x-mas cookies. this post reminded me of your "garbage cookies"! ;)