Pumpkin spice granola

September 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

Sometimes, a shortage of ingredients and a bit of flexibility results in a pleasant surprise. A couple weeks ago, I was looking through the pantry trying to find ground cinnamon and vanilla extract to make basic granola, only to realize that I’d left it all at my parents’ house in NJ.

Pumpkin spice granola

It was probably more laziness than (I like to think) creativity, but instead of running to the store to buy some more, I just used some extra pumpkin spice, almond extract, and olive oil (since I also didn’t have the canola oil I typically use) as substitutes.

And I have to say that I might never go back to the original recipe. That same week, temperatures reached below 50 F in Ithaca, so having breakfast with some spice was the perfect way to wake up in the morning. This granola still had all of the things I love – a healthy amount of salt to balance the sweet, large and textured clumps of oats, and the crunch of walnuts – but became so much more with just a few modifications.

Just goes to show that sloth isn’t always a sin.

Pumpkin Spice Granola 

This recipe lasts about 1 – 1 1/2 weeks for one person. Store in an airtight container.

2 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar (I used slightly less since I like my granola to be less sweet)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup walnuts (I like to add more)
1/2 cup dark raisins (optional)

Preheat the oven to 325 F.

Mix the rolled oats, salt, and pumpkin spice in a large bowl. Pour onto a foiled baking sheet and spread in one even layer.

Mix honey, brown sugar, olive oil, and almond extract in a small bowl. Microwave for about 20 seconds (don’t have to do this but I find it softens the sugar and makes whisking a bit easier) and then whisk until everything is thoroughly blended. Pour honey mixture over the oats mixture in the baking sheet and mix thoroughly so all the oats are evenly coated. If you like a clumpy granola, gather some of the mixture in your hand and make a fist so you get some clumps.

Bake for 10 minutes. Take out, stir granola, and add the walnuts. Bake for another 10-12 minutes or until golden brown and toasted in color. Take out of the oven and stir in raisins, if using. Let cool for 10-15 minutes.

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Do-it-yourself granola

April 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

Another unloading-the-pantry recipe. Yogurt and granola always sounds like such a healthy combination, but in undergrad, yogurt for me meant sugary, strawberry goop from the dining hall and granola meant even sweeter crushed Nature Valley bars. No doubt having giant bowls of that for breakfast contributed to the poundage I gained during freshman year. If only I had known how easy it is to make granola at home.

This recipe is simple and versatile; you could probably substitute the honey for maple syrup, walnuts for pecans or almonds, dark raisins for dried cranberries, the possibilities are endless. And I like getting  little pops of the coarse sea salt with the overall sweetness so I tend to add a little more, but to each his own. I’ve gotten into the very good habit of making a batch every Sunday morning, which makes the whole apartment smell spicy and toasty, and having a little bit each day for breakfast with some tart Greek yogurt.

Homemade granola

Everyday Granola

2 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon neutral oil (I used canola)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup dark raisins

Preheat the oven to 325. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, toss the oats with cinnamon and salt. In a medium bowl, stir together oil, honey, brown sugar, and vanilla until completely combined (I found that microwaving the mixture for about 30 seconds made mixing a lot easier). Pour honey mixture over the oats and mix, using your hands. If you like clumpy granola, gather some of the mixture in your hand and make a fist. Repeat until all oats are evenly coated.

Pour mixture onto prepared baking sheet, spreading it out evenly. Bake for 10-12 minutes and then remove from the oven. Flip the granola with a large spatula, add the walnuts and stick the granola back in the oven. Bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until the granola is golden brown. Let cool completely and then sprinkle with raisins. Store in an airtight container.

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