Thursday, January 5, 2012

Seeded Raisin and Walnut Granola

This probably sounds strange, but I've made a New Year's resolution to cook more. I know that I probably cook far more than the average person, but I'm still trying to break myself of the habit of occasionally buying food that I can make for much less with much higher quality at home, with the prime example being granola. Granola with yogurt is one of my favorite breakfasts and there's no reason I should be wasting money at the store when it is so easy and cheap to make it myself. And although one of the greatest advantages is being able to make it exactly to my taste (and the current contents of my cabinets), I still like to check a few reliable resources for some good recipes for inspiration.

On the most basic level, granola is rolled oats, dried fruit, and nuts with a mixture of fat and sweetener, but I'm trying to encorporate more bran, flax, and seeds, making this recipe a great starting point. Just the right combination of savory nuts and seeds and plump, juicy raisins mingling with toasty oats, all subtly glazed by sweetness and spice, this is a superb topping for yogurt at breakfast or ice cream for dessert. If you've made a resolution to cook more, save money, or eat better I hope you'll give this simple, delicious granola a try. Whether you make many different small batches with a wide variety of ingredients, or a huge batch to keep you supplied for weeks, the small time investment required will reward you many times over.

Seeded Raisin and Walnut Granola
adapted from Bob's Red Mill
makes about 2 to 2 1/2 cups

1 1/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
2 tablespoons raw shelled sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup raisins

1. Preheat oven to 350°F, set aside a cookie sheet, lining with aluminum foil or parchment paper, if desired. Combine oats, coconut, wheat germ, seeds and nuts in a large bowl. In another container, mix together the butter, honey, water, salt, cinnamon and vanilla extract. Pour over grains, stirring thoroughly.

2. Spread mixture thinly on cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Oats should be crisp and brown, but coconut should not be burned. Allow to cool thoroughly, then add raisins and place in an airtight container for storage. Can be stored up to 3 weeks without refrigeration. Makes about 6 - 1/3 cup servings.

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