Sunday, January 13, 2013

Surfer's Granola

For a while, I'd gotten into the bad habit of buying granola. I know that it's cheap and easy to make, but I'd gotten caught up in other projects (namely homebrewing) and abandoned my habit of making all my own granola and granola bars. And although I maintain a dedication to the fermented arts, I also made a New Years' resolution to get back into the habit of stocking my pantry and freezer with the fruits of my own labor. I've had this recipe bouncing around in the back of my head since I originally saw it in Bon Appetit and thought there no better time to conquer long-neglected tasks than the first week of the New Year. I don't much buy in to the idea of having to make goals and or better yourself on any sort of set schedule, but I do adore ritual and tradition and the psychological boost of a clean slate. And so I started off my year with a number of culinary efforts, including this granola. I've made many fruit and nut granolas, but this one distinguishes itself with a pleasant added crunch from the millet and unique texture. By first soaking the oats with hot water and then baking low and slow, you form delightfully crunchy shards of granola in all shapes and sizes. It's true that baking the nuts and oats separately requires more time and effort that the typical granola where they're all baked together at a higher temperature, but it's well worth it for the new sensory experience. Whether sprinkled generously over yogurt for breakfast or ice cream for dessert, this granola will delight your taste buds with salty, sweet, crunchy, and soft in each delicious bite.

Surfer's Granola
adapted from Bon Appetit
makes about 1 quart

2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup millet (optional; if not using, add an extra 1/4 cup oats)
1 tablespoon golden or other flaxseeds (optional)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/3 cup honey
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons (packed) dark brown sugar
3/4 raw almonds, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup raw shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries

1. Heat oven to 300°. Mix oats, millet and flaxseeds (if using), 1/4 tsp. salt, cinnamon, and ginger in a medium bowl. Add 1 cup hot tap water. Mix thoroughly and let stand for 15 minutes to soften oats.

2. Bring honey, 2 Tbsp. oil, and brown sugar to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add honey mixture to oat mixture in bowl and toss to coat. Spread out in an even layer on a large rimmed baking sheet.

3. Bake oat mixture, stirring 2–3 times, until dark golden brown, 50–70 minutes. Place sheet on a wire rack and let oat mixture cool completely.

4. Increase oven temperature to 350°. Mix remaining 1/2 tsp. salt, remaining 2 Tbsp. oil, almonds, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, and sugar in a medium bowl. Spread in an even layer on another rimmed baking sheet. Bake, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 12–15 minutes. Place sheet on a wire rack and let nut mixture cool completely.

Combine oat mixture, nut mixture, and raisins in a large bowl.

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