I'm on a granola kick. I never cared about the stuff before, but when I was in Florida, the cafe in our hotel offered yogurt parfaits. The things were layered with yogurt, fresh fruit and granola. I loved it.
So, when I got home, I bought all the ingredients and have been making a sort of parfait for breakfast ever since. But then I started thinking about making my own granola, not because it's necessarily better than stuff I can buy as long as I shop wisely but because I like to learn to make things I don't normally make. Once I bought kits for my kids to make their own chewing gum, chocolate bars and root beer. It was all nasty stuff, but it was a good experiment.
I started out with a granola recipe from Alton Brown. He uses maple syrup and vegetable oil to stick everything together (I chose honey instead of syrup), and he includes the usual things like oats, coconut, nuts and raisins. It was OK, but because the recipe suggests stirring every 10 minutes, you end up with a pile of dust.
Then I tried Martha Stewart's recipe (it follows). She uses butter instead of oil, and as we all know, everything is better with butter. I love this stuff even though I didn't have everything on hand like wheat germ and the seeds, and it goes great with organic vanilla yogurt and blueberries. And I have to admit, it's not a bad snack when mixed with some chocolate chips. I'll add to the butter rule—everything is better with chocolate.
For those of you who make your own granola, how do you do it, and what are your favorite ingredients?
Granola from Martha Stewart
Makes 6 1/2 cups
1/2 cup shredded coconut
4 cups old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
1/4 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
1 cup coarsely chopped almonds
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 cup honey
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup golden raisins
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment, and spread shredded coconut on top. Bake until toasted. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
2. Decrease oven temperature to 300 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment; set aside. In a large bowl, toss together oats, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, almonds, sesame seeds, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.
3. In a small bowl, stir together honey and butter; pour over oat mixture. Stir well. Spread onto sheets. Bake until golden, about 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Break up granola; sprinkle with raisins and toasted coconut. Store in airtight container.