Sunday, January 5, 2014

Howdy, Sisters! 
It's a good day to stay inside, drink chamomile tea, and cook something since it's 13 degrees F., with a cold gusty north wind rattling the wind chimes and making it feel like minus 5.  I'm roasting potatoes, thawing chicken broth in preparation for making soup, and thinking about granola.

Caribou Coffee cup courtesy of E; tea infuser courtesy of J. Dawson.
I gave granola for Christmas and received two requests for the recipe.  It's a pretty common request, because the granola is, as one of my friends put it, "KICK ASS."  
It's only "my" recipe because I've changed it so much.  When looking for a hard copy, I found five versions.
The original recipe is courtesy of Linda Simmons, someone I have never met.  She was a girlfriend of Jim Blankenship, and the original given to him was handwritten on a piece of 5" by 8" note paper.  Besides her granola recipe, Linda Simmons is famous in my mind for having a monkey that she would flick on the nose with her finger when it was acting up - or so I've been told.  Anyway, I had custody of the original for many years when Jim asked for the recipe back.  He was incredulous that I still had the 30+ year-old original. 

Anyway - the recipe:
5 c. rolled oats
1.5 c. shredded dried coconut
1 c. wheat germ
1 c. chopped nuts
1 c. sunflower seeds
0.5 c. sesame seeds
0.5 c. bran

.25 c. oil
.75 c. honey
1-2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt

COMBINE honey-oil mixture with dry ingredients; mix well.
BAKE on oiled cookie sheet at 350 degrees, stirring often.
ADD 1 c. raisins when cool.

CAUTION: let the granola cool before storing it.  If it doesn't cool enough before being shut into a container, it won't be crisp.  Soggy granola sucks.  And don't put in those sulfured dried apricots - they also make the granola soggy, even if it was crisp when you added them.

Okay - now here's what I really do: 
1. Skip the wheat germ and bran.  It adds too many tiny parts without adding that much flavor or nutrition (to my mind), and makes it messy when I'm grabbing it to put into my mouth (yes, I'm a slob who eats over my computer - tough beans). Instead of that 1.5 cups of germ and bran, I add 1.5 cups of other nuts or seeds - always pumpkin seeds and then whatever else is on hand.

2. I quit oiling the cookie sheet decades ago.

3. Guess what - 1/2 cup of honey works instead of 3/4, so cut down on the sugar (and the price - honey is expensive!)
4.  You can change almost anything about this recipe and it's still fabulous.  Try any flaked grain instead of rolled oats, for instance.  Vanilla?  Try almond extract instead.  You can add probably 2 cups more of nuts and still not have to increase the amount of the honey-oil mix.  Note that the higher ratio of nuts adds to the fat and calories.  And since I'm not a raisin fan, my version always has dried cranberries instead.  The granola I handed out this Christmas used 3/4 cup of maple syrup because I didn't have honey, and I skipped the coconut and added dried papaya. I'm sure everyone will figure out their own favorite way to make this granola - and it will be incredible!
Cheers and love from Montana,
 - Mary


Nancy said...

Mary, I am glad you posted this recipe on the blog. Now I can find it whenever I want. I think I will go over to the Linden Hills Co-op whenever it warms up and get the supplies.

Mary Drew said...

Another tip: I usually let it bake for 10 minutes before I stir it the first time. Then I shorten the time to 7 or 5 minutes between stirrings, depending on the oven and how much granola you've decided to spread on your pans. You can spread it really thick but you have to stir more often.

Bobby's girl said...

YAY!!!! I think I have everything . . .nope need walnuts ,drat. Thanks Mary! Can't wait to mix up a batch and glad to find out you used maple syrup in our batch because I prefer it to honey as a sweetener.

mtmickey said...

We have made a couple batches of granola in the past couple of weeks, and for each one I kept thinking, have to remember to ask Mary Drew for her recipe. Thanks so much, it's good to have your tips and tricks. Can't wait to make the next batch.