Saturday, October 30, 2010

Granola, 2 Ways

Now that it's fall, I feel like a squirrel foraging for nuts, trying to store up sustenance to survive the long winter I know is ahead of us. Even if it's not going to be as cold here in Rome as some places I've lived, fall is the time to get a head start on boosting the immune system, which for me means not being hungry all the time.

On a recent weekend visit, my Uncle told me about his favorite "secret" granola recipe (which he willingly shared). He adapted it from Melissa Clark's recipe, and now I've adapted it from him. The secret lies in the trio of unexpected ingredients, namely the olive oil, maple syrup and cardamom. My old granola recipe was pretty dull in comparison and I'm excited to have one that is more unique and much more delicious now.

We eat granola almost every morning with fruit and yogurt. Sometimes if I'm feeling indulgent, I'll mix it with ricotta because I know I'll burn it off ten-fold during my busy days with this crazy superhero. (Happy Halloween, by the way)

"Secret" Granola
You can obviously use any combination of nuts and dried fruits you like. Slivered almonds would be a nice addition .

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (do not use quick-cooking oats)
1 cup
raw pumpkin seeds, hulled
1 cup hazlenuts
1 cup sesame seeds
¾ cup pure maple syrup
½ cup
extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup packed
light brown sugar
1 teaspoon
kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
¾ cup raisins

Preheat the oven to 300°.

In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients except the raisins. Mix thoroughly and spread the mixture evenly onto a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until the granola is golden brown and well toasted.

Once the granola is cooled, transfer to a large bowl and stir in the raisins.

Read on for part 2:

Next comes the issue of afternoon snacks. I cannot make it from one meal to the next without snacks. For years I have purchased granola bars because they are portable and a somewhat healthy snack, however they are usually to sweet and fall short of my expectations. I set out to finally make my own. This is also a twice handed down recipe, from King Arthur Flour, then to Smitten Kitchen and now it's shown up in my kitchen, with more changes (like even less sugar!)

These bars completely met my expectations, and I love being able to control the amount of sugar, change the nut and fruit combination, really the sky is the limit!

Seriously delicious granola bars

1 2/3 cups rolled oats (I used half oats and half spelt flakes)
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup oat flour (or baby oatmeal, which I need to use up since Roman likes real oatmeal)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon (you could use more but I didn't want to overpower the other flavors)
6 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup maple syrup (or honey)
1/3 cup hazelnut spread (Rapunzel makes a good organic version, otherwise use Nutella)
1 tablespoon water
2-3 cups any combination of dried nuts and fruit. Here's what I used (I opted for a full 3 cups worth):
sunflower seeds

Here is the method:
Chop all the nuts and seeds either by hand or in a food processor.
Combine the oats, sugar, oat flour, salt, cinnamon in a bowl and add the chopped nuts and fruits.
In another bowl, combine the melted butter, Nutella, maple syrup and water. Mix well to combine, then add this mixture to the oat/nut mixture and make sure it is well combined.
Line a 8x8x2 pan with parchment paper and press the granola mixture in firmly and evenly (use some plastic wrap and this will be less sticky.) Bake at 350 degrees for 30 - 40 minutes. Once cooled, if the granola seems crumbly, put it in the refrigerator before cutting.
Can be stored in the refrigerator or at room temperature, either individually wrapped or in an air-tight container.


  1. I've never made my own granola, how wonderful!

  2. I agree about how good the granola is- I always manage to sneak a container or two into my luggage when I visit my dad.

    I've been meaning to make granola bars to help me through long work days and evening classes, so I'm absolutely making these this weekend. Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. And I am looking forward to making the granola bars too!


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