Monday, 7 January 2013

The Cereal Adventures, Part 1: Granola

For those (like me) who doubted granola could be awesome.
I recently decided that buying commercial cereal wasn't the choice for me anymore. Not even that hippie hemp cereal was cutting it. (What can I say? My ethical standards don't often meet my palate's requirements.)

So I decided that I should be making my own cereal. Now, granola is easy to make at home, but I thought maybe I should try something a little different. I mean, how exciting can granola be?

Well, if you scroll down, you'll see that I was proven wrong on that front. I have been eating Double Coconut Granola for breakfast and lunch for a few days now, because I can't make it past my mid-day meal without being like, "You know, I'd really like a bit more of that granola..."

But I also wanted to be sure I was a little more balanced as well. So I've found myself a recipe for bran flakes, which is especially great because it uses almond meal. (I recently discovered that almond meal is one of those things for me. You know, those things that when you're out and you see it on sale, you always think to yourself, "I don't think I have much of this left. I should get some!" For my mother, that was dates. Then she'd get home and find she had several sale bags of dates in her pantry and we'd all be rolling our eyes. My poor manners surrounding my mother's date habit have come back to bite me in the butt, in the form of industrial quantities of almond meal.) I'll be posting an update once I try the bran flakes, too.

For now, I'll leave you with the best granola I've ever tasted, modified to be vegan, and in my case, using Fair Trade ingredients where possible. (Here's where to get your Fair Trade shredded coconut, coconut oil and vanilla extract.) If I were you, I'd make a double batch. This one lasted about a week for me, and now I'm onto my second...

This is the best granola I've ever tasted. Period.
Double Coconut Granola (Adapted from Opera Girl Cooks)
Makes about 6 cups

6 cups large-flake oats*
1-2/3 cups shredded coconut
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, mix together oats and coconut. In a small saucepan, combine remaining ingredients and cook over medium heat until it just begins to simmer. Pour over the oat mixture and stir to combine well. Spread on two ungreased baking sheets with high sides. Bake in a 300°F oven for 10 minutes, then stir well and return to oven. Repeat this however many times is necessary for your granola to brown nicely. (It usually takes me 4 times, for 40 minutes baking and 4 stirs.) Remove from oven and stir occasionally while it cools on the pan. Store in an airtight container (mason jars work excellently). It will keep for a few weeks, but you'll eat it way before then, so don't worry about it!

* For a gluten-free version, be sure to get gluten-free oats.


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