Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Glorious Granola

I’m a total breakfast girl -- give me eggs, bacon, toast slathered in butter any time of the day. Bagels with cream cheese and lox… bagel sandwiches… fresh-baked muffins… om nom nonm. But all that stuff takes a lot of work in the morning, so I usually reserve it for weekends or brunch at a restaurant. What I’m always looking for is a quickie breakfast that can accompany my 3 cups of coffee while I open up my laptop and prepare for work or writing. Oh, and I don’t like oatmeal, bleh! So what’s a girl to do?
Here's a "weekend breakfast" : On Sunday made scrambled
eggs with onions and peppers and served
with baked potatoes and onions.

Call me a tree-hugging hippie if you’d like, but I love granola. Crunchy, crunchy, crunchy granola. Though I love granola, I almost never buy it in the stores. Mostly that’s because it’s expensive (or more expensive than I feel like it should be -- it’s just oats and nuts for Pete’s sake!) But it’s also in part because I don’t like raisins -- or any other fruit for that matter -- in my granola, and you wouldn’t believe how few granolas are available sans fruit.

That’s where making homemade granola comes in. I’ve made it once before… the recipe I made was gloriously delicious and I ate it as a snack at work for nearly a whole month. Let me tell you a little about the last version: it was made with peanut butter which created those wonderful big granola clumps which were perfect for snacking! OH YUM! But, while the last version was good I wanted to try something new this time.

The dry stuff: oats, almonds, coconut, and sunflower seeds

I searched around the internet for some recipes, and cobbled one together on my own based on suggestions from various sites and bloggers. (As I’ve mentioned before, I love the DIY sort of recipes where it’s easy to adapt things to your own specifications.)

The wet batter all whipped up and ready to pour on the dry stuff.

What I came up with was a deliciously sweet and spicy, kind of salty, cinnamon-y granola. It had the kind of flavor that actually bursts in your mouth. Perhaps the granola was a bit overdone… I suggest limiting your salt content if your seeds/nuts are already salted -- whoops… but all that flavor works well when the granola is tossed into a bowl with milk, and I bet it will be delish when I stir it up with some yogurt and berries which will probably help to mellow out the saltiness. (Yes, I do like berries WITH my granola.)

30 second granola making lesson:

  • Pick your dry stuff -- rolled oats (not the instant kind!), seeds, nuts, spices, sugar, salt, coconut, brown sugar, maple sugar
  • Pick your wet stuff -- honey, oil, peanut butter, vanilla extract, maple syrup
  • Mix your oats and nuts and seeds in a bowl. In another bowl whisk together your wet stuff, sugar and spices. I found this tip from a fellow blogger and it’s definitely key to making well-mixed granola. When your wet stuff has a nice well-mixed consistency pour it over your dry stuff and stir together so the dry stuff is coated well with the mixture. My wet mixture looked a lot like brownie batter, and it smelled OH SO GOOD.
  • Place the wet granola on a greased baking sheet, or a silpat like I used, and bake for an hour at 300 stirring the granola around every 15 minutes. While I mentioned that the wet mixture smelled good, the granola smelled EVEN BETTER while baking in the oven… it made my whole kitchen smell delicious and like autumn!

Ready for the oven!

When you have only one silpat you will have to bake the granola in 3 different batches. When you get antsy near the end of batch two and decide it might be a good idea to let the whole thing cook for a few minutes under the broiler to speed up the baking process, be ready with a towel because your granola may start to smoke and you may set off every smoke alarm in your apartment and then you may have to run around like a madwoman opening windows and frantically fanning away at your smoke detectors. And then you may be embarrassed because you know that your neighbors upstairs can totally hear what’s going on and assume you are an awful cook. Not like I know from personal experience or anything…

When all batches are done let the granola cool and then store in containers. Enjoy alone or with milk or yogurt!

While there were some errors with my granola, it’s certainly still edible and generally tasty. Finding the right mix of spices/sugar/nuts/seeds might take some time, but once you perfect it you can say goodbye to the small $7 bags of granola at Whole Foods.

Look! Enough granola to last me through the rest of 2010!
Jillian's Glorious Granola:
If you’re looking to replicate my exact granola recipe, here’s what I used. I chose to make a really large batch both because I wanted enough to enjoy the granola for a few weeks but also because then I could use the whole bag/containers of the nuts and coconut I purchased. It’s easy to slim this recipe down to a 1/3 the size of what I made:

  • 12 cups oats (I bought mine from the bulk container at Whole Foods – it’s cheaper and you can pick out just how much you want)
  • 3 cups sliced raw almonds (one bag from Trader Joe’s)
  • 3 cups sunflower seeds (one bag from Trader Joe’s)
  • 3 cups coconut shredded coconut flakes (one container from Whole Foods)
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup pure maple syrup (use the good stuff!)
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons salt (I recommend not using any salt if your nuts/seeds are pre-salted)
  • 3 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon Saigon cinnamon (which the package tells me is fancy stuff)

Happy Breakfasting!


  1. OMG it looks delicious!! ~ Anna B :)

  2. It was SO easy, too! I'm going to have to buy some yogurt soon... I bet that will make it all the better!

  3. Great post! I’m looking to make some changes in my own eating habits and learning to cook, so I appreciate your insight a lot! Thank you. I recently stumbled upon this blog like I did yours and I thought your readers may appreciate it:

    I’ve started to look for their stuff more regularly and I think I’m going to add your blog to my list as well. Thanks for the post!


  4. Thanks for commenting, Amy! And thanks for letting me know about that other blog, I'm definitely always interested in finding more fun food blogs to follow -- my google reader list grows more every day and I LOVE it! :)


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