"No matter how terrified you may be, own your fear and take that leap anyway because whether you land on your feet or on your butt, the journey is well worth it."-- Laurie Laliberte"If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough."-- Ellen Johnson Sirleaf"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."-- Anais Nin
Sunday, June 8, 2014
I'm Turning into a Hippie
Today; however, I'm sharing my much-experimented-with recipe for basic granola. In the interest of giving credit where credit is due, I must tell you that this granola began as this recipe from Stephanie O'Dea. I've made it several times, and not quite the same each time. I've tweaked it to change the top flavors while leaving the base the same. This is one of those recipes for which I always have the ingredients in the pantry.
Currently, in my crock pot, sits the tasty goodness that will become white chocolate cranberry. Tomorrow's experiment will be blueberry almond, and ready to go the next time I have the desire is the same combo I've been eating for the past two weeks. It contains pistachios, almonds, mixed berries, and dark chocolate. It's very loose, so it's great for cereal in the morning or stirring into a cup of plain yogurt, but I especially like it with about a half cup of ice cream.
In this recipe, I leave three key ingredients up to you. I've listed some of my favorite flavor combinations below.
Okay, enough talk. Let's get down to earthy, crunchy business...
5 c rolled oats (NOT the quick cooking kind)
1/4 c sunflower seeds
1/2 c nuts of your choice*
1/2 c shredded coconut
1/4 c oil
1/2 c honey
1/2 c dried fruit of your choice*
1/2 c chocolate chips, flavor of your choice*
Dump first group of ingredients into (5 or 6 quart) crock pot and mix thoroughly.
Add oil and honey, and mix to coat dry ingredients.
Cook on high for up to 4 hours, stirring every 30 minutes.
When there's only about 30 minutes left on your cooking time, add dried fruit and stir.
Remove granola to a cookie sheet/jelly roll pan to cool.
Once cooled, add chocolate chips, stir, and place in an airtight container.
Granola will stay fresh for a couple of weeks. I keep mine in the refrigerator so it will keep a little longer.
Every slow cooker is different, so cooking times will vary. I always set the timer on my crock pot for 3 1/2 or 4 hours, but often finish earlier than that. End the cooking when you decide the granola is browned to your liking. Sometimes, I need to stir more often, or turn down the heat as I near the end of cooking.
To make the honey easier to get out of the measuring cup, I add the oil first, then use the same 1/4 cup measure for the honey. The oil coats the cup so the honey pours right out of it. It makes cleanup easier too.
It doesn't matter whether your nuts are whole, chopped, or sliced; it's your call.
You can use either sweetened or unsweetened coconut. If you choose sweetened, watch that it doesn't burn.
Don't skimp on the oil, but do consider the flavor of the oil you're using. I usually use sunflower oil because it has hardly any flavor.
I find the chocolate chips add some sweet without a ton of extra sugar, but I try to use dark chocolate since it adds some antioxidants to the mix.
*Mixtures of mix-ins:
pecans, cranberries, and white chocolate
almonds, blueberries, and dark chocolate
almonds, extra coconut, and milk chocolate (sound familiar?)
walnuts, apricots (chopped), and dark chocolate
My next experiment may involve agave nectar instead of honey.
Happy Crock Potting!