Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Homemade Granola

This past week I have been happily munching on my homemade granola from the Clinton St. Baking Company Cookbook.  I am a bit addicted to it, snacking on it a couple times a day when I get a chance.  I love the crunchy-chewy texture and the pop of dried fruit.  That said, this recipe didn't come without some issues.  The first batch I burned, and it wasn't my fault, I swear.  I have an oven thermometer now, because all the disasters that were happening from the cookbook made me crazy.  I needed one anyway since I left my old one in my old oven in my old apartment.  Anyways, my oven is pretty accurate on the temperature, actually 5 degrees cooler than it claims to be, so I know it is not my fault.  Okay, now that that is off my chest.  Anyways, I made a second batch, which was no big deal because this recipe is a cinch to make, and ended up reducing the baking time to 16 minutes instead of the suggested 20-22.  I think I could have baked it a little longer - like a minute if I wanted it a bit crunchier, but I am really glad I didn't because I love the crunchy-chewy texture.  Next time I am planning to replace the cashews with walnuts, and instead of mixed dried fruit I am going to use just dried apples and prunes.  They were my favorite in the mix.

Here are the ingredients for Granola from the Clinton St. Baking Company Cookbook, makes 5 cups:
-2 1/2 cups Quaker Quick Oats or any brand 5-minute oats
-1/2 cup sliced almonds
-1/2 cup unsalted cashews or pecan halves and pieces (next time I would roughly chop my nuts)
-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
-1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (ground or freshly grated)
-Pinch of salt
-1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
-1/3 cup maple syrup
-1/3 cup light brown sugar
-3/4 teaspoon orange extract (substitute orange zest if you can't find extract)
-1 cup mixed dried fruit
-2 tablespoons shredded coconut (optional)

To begin, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, whisk together the oats, nuts, spices, and salt until combined.
In a medium saucepan, over low heat, whisk together the butter, syrup, sugar, and extract until the sugar has dissolved and the butter has melted.
Pour the butter mixture over the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Coat the edges of the sheet with nonstick spray so that the granola does not burn.  Spread the granola evenly on the sheet.
Bake until golden brown, about 16-18 minutes (Clinton St. says 20-22 - bake at your own risk).  Rotate the cookie sheet in the oven halfway through the cooking time to ensure even baking.
Remove the sheet from the oven and allow the granola to cool.  Chop the dried fruit into 1/4-inch dice.  Break up the granola by hand and mix in fruit.  Store in a tightly sealed container.  The granola will be good for 2 to 3 months if stored in a cool, dark spot with low humidity.  Enjoy!

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