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Granola greetings: a perfect way to start the day (dairy)

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It’s sort of like alchemy, really… you take oats, which is essentially horse food, and you turn it into pure, hearty breakfast yumminess.

If you’re thinking of starting to make your own granola, this is one of those “old favourite” recipes you’ll want to keep handy.

This picture here of the ingredients highlights the truly “no-frills” alchemy of this recipe:  crafting a premium product out of all these yellow-label groceries.  (the brown sugar and a couple of other things that aren’t packed in yellow were left out of the photo)

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I’ve made this granola many, many times now.  I’m still searching for a source of milk powder (skim or otherwise) in Israel, because now I miss it… a lot.  Plus, storebought granola is pretty expensive here, while oats are relatively cheap.

I was surprised the first few times that I liked it so much; I’m not a huge granola fan.  Before I made this, I tried the Artisan Bread in Five Granola (the granola is meant to be used to make yummy Granola Bread!), but to be honest, I wasn’t that inspired by it.  This one DID inspire me.

What’s the difference?

In this recipe, it’s the milk powder that MAKES the granola.  It makes the granola sort of clump together the same way Quaker Harvest Crunch does – delicious clusters of pure homemade crunchy deliciousness.  If you don’t have powdered milk or don’t want to make a dairy granola – ie, for baking – then stick with the ABin5 recipe; it’s very good.  Otherwise, try this one – it’s GREAT!

I recommend that you not double the recipe.  The single one makes a decent quantity, and it doesn’t keep long.  Plus, my family gets sick of eating the same thing surprisingly quickly.  This is so fast to throw together that you can always whip up more if it vanishes.  (If you have a big family, I suppose you could double it, but keep in mind that you’ll need to spread it out flat to bake properly in the oven.)

This recipe is adapted from The Tightwad Gazette.

What you need:

The Wet Stuff:

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup honey

The Dry Stuff:

  • 5 cups oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup non-fat milk powder
  • (3/4 cup of sliced blanched almonds, optional)
  • (3/4 teaspoon cinnamon, optional)
  • pinch of salt

The Finishing Touch:

  • 1/2-1 cup raisins or Craisins (or an unbranded sweetened-dried cranberry equivalent!), to be added AFTER cooking (optional, I guess, if you hate raisins)
  • Chocolate chips and/or white chips, for an extra sweet treat (very, very optional)

How to make it:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Mix brown sugar, oil and honey in a saucepan.
  3. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved. 
  4. Meanwhile, combine oatmeal, milk, salt (plus almonds and cinnamon if using) in a large bowl. 
  5. Pour melted-sugar mixture over dry mixture and stir well. 
  6. Spread out evenly on two cookie sheets (make sure they’ll fit side-by-side in your oven, or bake them 1 at a time, or put one higher and lower in the oven and swap them halfway)
  7. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. If not golden-brown, stir & bake 5 minutes longer.  Be careful not to overbake; remove from oven as soon as it is golden-brown.
  9. Add raisins and mix well.
  10. Let mixture cool in pan, stirring occasionally.
  11. Store in an airtight container.  Use within a few days.

Optional: add other nuts, wheat germ, coconut, dates, etc.  (If using nuts, you can toast them first.)

 


[photo credit:  granola photo © Sweet Flour Bake Shop via flickr]

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