Monday, March 19, 2012

Stir it up! Engineer's Granola

Try this recipe and I guarantee you will never eat store-bought cereals again! It’s chocked full of fibre, nuts, dried fruit and spices and makes a wonderful healthy breakfast or snack any time of the day or night. If you are traveling or staying in a hotel bring it with you and skip the high-fat muffins at the breakfast kisoks. Simply store individual 1/3 c servings in small Ziploc plastic bowls and add milk. Voila…a healthy start to your day. You’re good to go!

This recipe makes about 10-12 cups. I store half of the batch in the freezer in a Ziploc bag.

NOTE: Allow 2-2 1/2 hrs total to make this recipe: 10 minutes to prepare ingredients, 45 minutes to bake and about 1 hour afterwards to stir the warm mixture every 10-15 minutes to prevent clumping while it cools.

Tools and utensils you will need:

Very large mixing bowl (I use a plastic dishwashing pan-just for this recipe)

Large roasting pan with 2-3 inch rim (Disposable but reusable roasting pans are perfect for this)

Parchment paper or heavy duty aluminum foil

Large stirring spoon –greased

Wooden spoon

Small saucepan

Ziploc bags to store the granola afterwards

A plastic tub or scoop to place the granola in the bags.

Preheat oven to 350F. (325F if your oven is a hottie!)
Mixture A

8 cups LARGE flake rolled oats of a mixture of 4 c spelt flakes and 4 cups large flake oats

2 cups sliced almonds

1 cup unsalted peanuts (optional)

1 cup unsalted cashews (optional)

2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1 cup roasted unsalted sunflower seeds

1 cup red bran flakes

½ cup oat bran flakes

1/2 cup wheat germ

3 tsp cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp cloves

1 1/2 tsp nutmeg

Grated peel from one medium sized orange (optional) or diced

Mixture B

1 cup brown sugar

2/3 cup liquid honey or maple syrup

Mixture C

2 cups mixed raisins

2 dried cranberries

Mix all of the ingredients from Mixture A together in a very LARGE mixing bowl and set aside. I use a large plastic dishwashing pan expressly purchased for this purpose!

Mix sugar and honey together (from Mixture B) in a small saucepan, over medium-low heat. Slowly bring the mixture to a boil while stirring frequently. WATCH carefully. When it reaches a light boil (with small bubbles rising to the surface), immediately remove from heat. (You can also prepare this mixture in the microwave in a 2-4 cup Pyrex. Cook for about 2-3 minutes but stir every 30 seconds to prevent it from bubbling over.)

Combine A and B: Pour honey-sugar mixture over oat mixture. Spray grease or lightly grease a large spoon and use it to stir this sticky mixture. Mix thoroughly.

Line a large disposable aluminum-roasting pan with parchment paper or a large sheet of heavy-duty tin foil. If using foil, spray grease the foil. Carefully pour the mixture into the lined-pan and spread it out evenly. Bake granola in the middle or lower third of the oven but NOT on the bottom rack. Bake mixture in the oven at 350F for 30-45 min. and stir at 15 min intervals. Be sure to stir the mixture thoroughly (at 10- 15 minutes intervals) to break up chunks and to prevent burning around the edges. When nicely browned but not burnt remove from the oven and let cool completely, around 45 minutes.

For Mixture C, mix and add these ingredients to the warm granola and stir well. You may also add other dried fruits such as blueberries, cherries, prunes if you wish.

Very Important Last Step: As the mixture cools, be sure to stir it every 15 minutes for the next hour or so! If you don’t it will clump into hard lumps and harden completely!

Let the granola cool completely to room temperature before storing in containers.

Storage Tips:

To transfer the mixture to containers, carefully lift the edges of the parchment paper and pour the mixture into Ziploc bags or other large containers.

The granola can also be stored in the freezer in Ziploc bags.

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