Wednesday, April 18, 2012

DIY: Granola 101

Granola is a luxury I don't often buy. 

 It's kind of expensive. . .Especially since I can eat an entire $3.99 box of my favorite Sunbelt Raisin Date variety in about 3 sittings. . .

A couple weeks ago, my mom said I should blog about making granola. Making granola? For some reason, the idea filled me with a sort of awe. Could really good granola be achieved by mere home-cooking mortals? I was skeptical and put off trying.

But then she sent me two tubs of chopped dates. I researched my topic thoroughly, scaling mountains of recipes to compare ingredients, oven temperatures, baking times, moisture content. . .

I don't know why I waited so long: making granola is way easier than pie. I would be surprised if someone managed to mess it up.

Last night, I made a batch loosely based on this recipe. Here's my take on it. . .

Maple Date Granola
  • 3 cups of oats (I used quick-cooking)
  • 2 cups coarsely grated fresh coconut
  • 2 cups of dates (or other dried fruits)
  • 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 T sunflower oil
  • 3 T maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, toss together the oats, coconut, dates, and walnuts.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and cinnamon.
  4. Pour the wet over the dry, and mix well. I found my hands to be much more effective then a spoon here. You want everything to be very well and evenly coated.
  5. Dump onto a rimmed baking sheet and spread it out. Bake for 20 or so minutes, stirring at times with a wooden spoon.
  6. Cool and store for up to two weeks. (2 weeks is just what I've read is advisable since sans preservatives, the oil might eventually go rancid.)

If heaven has a scent, I bet it is lilac half the time, and something oat and cinnamon-y in the oven the other half.

Feel free to use packaged, unsweetened coconut flakes in lieu of fresh! I was just given a coconut by my very good friend and had to find something to do with it.

By the way, I still have half a coconut left. Any ideas?