Vanilla Granola

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Every time I make granola I wonder why I wait so long between batches. I like it with milk for breakfast, mixed with plain yogurt and honey for a snack and by the handful. It takes minutes to make and keeps in the pantry for several weeks. I usually have everything on hand to make it. But even if you aren’t a grain and nut enthusiast like me, one trip to the grocery store should get you everything you need.

I am still thinking about vanilla, so I decided to make vanilla granola this time. It also has orange juice and honey, but vanilla is the dominant flavor. If you wanted more of an orange kick you could add orange zest along with the juice. Or you could go another direction and add a couple of teaspoons of cinnamon. I left out the dried fruit from this batch, only adding a few raisins for the picture. You could add a mix of fruit, or just keep it simple with one kind, or none.

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I added rolled barley flakes to this batch, in addition to the rolled oats. You can get rolled barley, rolled rye and rolled grain mixes in the hot cereal section of the grocery store, or sometimes with the flours. They add another dimension to the granola, but feel free to keep it simple and use all oats. If you like the idea of rolled barley, you can also get it at some Asian markets. I get mine at a market that is heavy on Korean foods and it is all of .69 a pound, which is a steal.

If you have never made granola, give it a try. Make it as written, or try some of my suggestions for adapting it. As long as you keep the proportions of dry ingredients the same, you can mix it up anyway you like – replace the nuts with more oats, add rolled rye for some of the oats or go crazy with nuts and seeds. After it is cool, you can add any kind of dried fruit you like. Or jazz it up in your bowl, with extra honey, fresh fruit, yogurt or milk. How do you like your granola?

Download or print the recipe here.

Vanilla Granola
from The Cook’s Life
Makes about 8 cups granola
Serving size, about ½ cup

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup rolled barley flakes (or 1 cup oats)
½ cup sliced almonds
½ cup wheat germ
¼ cup chopped pecans
¼ cup sunflower seeds
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup honey
2 tablespoons maple syrup (I used grade B – use what you have)
¼ cup canola oil
½ cup orange juice
4 teaspoons vanilla
1-2 cups dried fruit, optional

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and grease a large baking sheet. Combine oats, barley, almonds, wheat germ, pecans, sunflower seeds and salt in a large bowl. Warm honey in the microwave for about 30 seconds, or until thin. Add maple syrup, canola oil, orange juice and vanilla and mix well. Pour over the oat mixture and mix well. Spread onto baking sheet in an even layer and bake for 15 minutes. Stir well, moving the toastier outside parts to the middle and spread in an even layer again. Bake another 10 minutes and stir again. Turn the oven off and return the granola to the still hot oven for another 5-10 minutes, until golden brown and toasty, but not browned.

Remove granola from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet on a rack until room temperature. Add dried fruit, if using. Store in an airtight container for a month, or in the freezer for longer storage. Serve as cereal with milk, over yogurt, or eat by the handful.

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