God-ordained Granola. Seriously.

Note on my bread recipe:  I apologize to those who asked about the amount of water needed.  Oddly, I forgot to supply this essential element.  My apologies.  It is now included.

Please don't let the title offend you.  This isn't a blasphemous recipe.  Gluttonous, perhaps, but I can assure you God doesn't take offense to this stuff. 

I'm thoroughly convinced I will be eating this delightful breakfast indulgence every morning for eternity, because quite frankly, I have yet to tire of it. 

It's that good. 

Just ask my Grandpa.  He has unparalleled wisdom.  He knows a good thing when he sees it.

Or tastes it, rather.

I made this schtuff for him while visiting last week and he proceeded to grab handfuls at all hours of the day and night.  I didn't admonish him; I followed suit.  That's how we roll in our family.  We're followers but only when we see something worthy of our interest.

And trust me, you want my interest.  I'm interesting.

Anyway, back to the title.  I also believe granola is the finest combination of ancient, earthly ingredients: oats, dried fruit, nuts, and seeds.  Really, ingredients of this caliber stick to your ribs and keep you movin' (in more ways than one...no further comments).  Can't you just imagine the Israelites chomping and gnoshing on this stuff while they were grumbling their way through the desert?  I can guarantee they likely weren't grumbling for long.

Oh, wait, that was manna.

Well, anyway, this is my manna.

In truth, I do have this every day for breakfast (except on the days I have my favorite muffins, those will be revealed in a future post).  It's entirely healthy, keeps me satisfied until lunch with no lulls in-between, and it tastes darn good. 

What?  Healthy and tastes good?  Is that some sort of oxymoron?

Nope.  Just make it, you'll see what all the fuss is about.

Now enough talking, let's start baking.   First up, the recipe:

God-ordained Granola

6 cups old-fashioned oats (not quick oats, please)
1 1/2 cups your favorite nuts & seeds, chopped (I use a mix of chopped walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, pecans, etc--basically whatever you can rig up in your pantry)
3/4 cup your favorite dried fruit, chopped
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch salt
8 Tbsp honey
4 Tbsp mild molasses (I like "Brer Rabbit" brand)
2 Tbsp canola oil
2 Tbsp melted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp maple flavoring

1. Preheat oven to 280 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, combine oats, nuts, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt.  Stir well to combine.
3. In a small saucepan melt butter with the oil over how heat.  Once melted, add molasses and honey, stirring gently until honey is loose.  Remove from heat and add vanilla and maple flavorings.
4. Pour wet mixture over dry and stir to combine well.
5. Spread granola evenly on two rimmed baking sheets.  Bake 30 minutes, mixing halfway through (set timer for 15 min, take out each pan and stir, then put back in oven setting timer again for 15 more min) and mixing again at the end.  This will keep the granola from burning and hardening.  Cool completely then add dried fruit.  Mix to combine
6.  Transfer to airtight jar or ziploc bag.

As you can see above, this is a very pliable, subsitute-friendly recipe.  You may use whatever nuts, seeds, and dried fruit you prefer.  If you don't have butter, go ahead and substitute with 2 more Tbsp canola oil (though butter adds a rich flavor that is unparalleled).  If you don't have enough oats on hand, feel free to substitute other cereals from the cabinet--but try to keep the majority of the base as oats, and only a fourth added extras.  This is a great way to use end-of-the-box cereals that might be hanging out in your pantry. I like mixing in a bit of crushed corn flakes or rice krispies--cereals without much added sugar or flavors.  Remember if you use sugary cereals decrease the amount of honey or brown sugar you use otherwise it will be overly sweet.

In this version, it's the little things that make all the difference, wait, isn't that a quote from somewhere?  Well, whoever said it knew their stuff.  The "little things" here are the molasses and the maple flavoring.  Somehow these two little additions add mountains of flavorful pizzazz and umph.  Or, as Emeril might say, they "kick it up a notch."

Here are the items I choose to work with:

Now let me just say something.  I love prunes.  I know these bad boys aren't admired or desired by most.  But I really, really like them.  They are slightly sweet, deliciously chewy, and suprisingly dense.  Not to mention their health benefits.  Hey, I'm not up for getting colon cancer any time soon, are you?  If not, I would suggest making these bad boys a part of your daily menu. 

That said, I chose to use them in my granola.  I adore the cherry-essence variety. 
Just make sure you cut them up into smaller pieces.

First things first, mix up the dry ingredients (oats, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon) in a separate bowl:

If you like to be a touch healthier (and I usually do), you could add a little of this:

I love flaxseed meal.  I add it to nearly all my baked goods.  It has nutrient-rich Vitamin E, as well as essential fatty acids that help make your hair, skin, and nails strong and lustrous.  And don't we all want lustrous hair? 
Come on, you know you do.

Next, melt the butter and canola oil in a pan:

Once butter is melted, add molasses & honey. When honey is loose (1 min or so), remove the pan from the heat and add your vanilla and maple flavorings. Stir well:

Oh my, the aroma.  The smell of butter & maple flavoring together is heavenly.
Pour the wet mixture into the dry, stir well to incorporate.

Coat two sheet pans with cooking spray and divide the granola between the two pans.

Spread it out to cover each pan:

Pop in a 300-degree oven.  Set a timer for 15 minutes. 
While waiting, find something else to do.
Earlier, I decided to pull those leftover rolls in the freezer from my previous baking day. 
Remember these?

I figure, since my oven will already be hot after granola-baking, I might as well make use of it. 
I have lunch plans for these little guys
(hmm, chili, fresh whole wheat buns, and a spinach salad, yep, that's what I'm thinking):

We'll just let those buns hangout a bit to rise while we finish the granola.  Once your timer goes off, take out the granola.  Chances are you are going to have to use two racks to accomodate both pans.  Make sure when you stick them back in, your rotate which was on bottom and top. 

But you probably already knew that.

Anyway.  Once you've removed the pans from the oven, give each batch a good stir.  This prevents the granola from burning and sticking to the bottom.  Burned granola is a crime...don't be caught red-handed. 
Not to mention it just plain ruins everything.  Please don't do this.  I beg you.
Once stirred, stick each back in the oven (remember to rotate the pans). 
Set the timer, again, for 15 minutes and sit down.  Bask in that beautiful aroma.  It's simply divine, isn't it?
When the timer sounds, remove the pans from the oven and just take a big whiff.

Ahhhh....it's fabulous.

Don't forget to stir the granola one last time to prevent clumpage. 
Unless you like that sort of thing.

Let the granola cool a bit (15-20min) then transfer to a ziploc bag or an airtight container such as this:

Place in an oft-viewed location so that you remember how incredibly yummy it is, and how much you want to have it every morning.  Look forward to breakfast, or, just munch a little each time you pass by.
Like I said, healthy and tasty--you can't beat that combo.

Notice the Kashi?
I love my Kashi. If you're going buy premade/packaged,
 this brand is the way to go.
High-fiber, high-protein, good stuff.
They didn't pay me to say that, but they should have.
 I'm one of their biggest consumers.

Now that my granola labor is accomplished, I turned the oven up to 400 degrees and popped those rolls in for 12 minutes.  Out they came and here they are:

Fresh wheat rolls and granola in one morning?  All in a day's work, my friends.

Now please excuse me while I partake in my bountiful baked goods.
And I don't share.
Go make your own, why don'tcha?


Alli said...

Mmmmm.... when are they going to add a "delicious aroma" function to blogspot? Sounds like a yummy recipe! I think I might even try it out here - going shopping in Georgia adds an extra element of fun!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recipe Abbie--hope I can bake up a batch real soon!
Aunt Jean

kyle and jennifer said...

yum! i'm gonna give this a whirl! ps on the boxed cereals: i find kashi to be yummy but expensive. we also like to get mom's best brand that you can usually find at the end of the cereal aisle. it's cheap because they don't spend a bunch on advertising and they don't add sweetners or other artificial stuff AND they "strive to make choices that benefit families, enhance our communities and sustain the environment" Gotta love that!

Kirsten's Cooking said...

Love the granola recipe (I'll definitely try it)-I also love Alton Brown's granola recipe (I have a not so secret major crush on him!). I also love prunes!
By the way, I've now made four batches of your bread and my jeans have never been so tight! It's delish with globs of butter and honey on top...thanks so much for sharing.

Shelby said...

Delicious!!! My kids love it too! Thanks Abbey!

Abbie said...

Glad to hear it, Shelby!

Shadley said...

mmm, I have been looking for a good breakfast recipe and this one looks awesome. Thanks!

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