So last Friday I attended this party. I wasn't sure what to expect. My friend (well sort of... we don't know each other well but always seem to run into each other and have tons in common to talk about - one of these days I think we may actually hang out instead of just waiting for the next happenstance meeting!) Leslie writes her own food blog and contributes to the blog that hosted the party. Anyway, at this party there was the option to participate in a food swap: bring four containers of a homemade food item (bread/soup/jam/whatever), form groups of five swappers, swap, take home four new items to enjoy. I decided to make granola bars but thought I'd be smart and triple the batch so that I could bring 6 or 8 bars for each person in my group (like you'd get in a store bought box of bars). Unfortunately, when I decided to throw in a little extra of this and a little more of that, I didn't adequately increase the sticky gooey stuff that holds the bars together. SO, when chilled and cut the just crumbled. This was at approximately 5:15pm and the party started at 6pm about thirty minutes away. AND I was making vanilla nutmeg brown rice pudding (recipe post to come - it was awesome!!!) which had yet to pud' up so I was kind of freaking out about that at the same time. Thankfully Ashley was there to man the pudding situation and I went to plan B, smush up the bars, call it granola and throw it in mason jars. Turned out pretty OK after all. And I got lucky in the swap - I scored carrot spread, preserved summer squash, butterscotch bars, meringues, dilled carrots AND a bonus palak paneer which was nothing short of delicious. I hid that in the back of the fridge and have been eating it in stealth mode for lunch every day!
But, back to the point of this post. The granola I gave out in the jars was obviously not my regular granola - it had far more sugar, nut butters, fruit, etc. More of a "decadent" than "regular". So, I figured I would share my normal granola recipe here as well, since its the kind I don't feel like a total glutton eating on a daily basis. The other stuff surely is a treat!!
3 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1/4 cup honey
1/8 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup or a bit more chopped nuts - I like walnuts, almonds, pecans, etc. mix it up!
1/2 cup or a bit more dried fruit, chopped to raisin size or smaller - I always use some coconut and maybe raisins, cranberries, currants, apricots, etc.
In a medium bowl, zap the coconut oil, sugar and honey for a minute or so. Add the cinnamon (a pinch of nutmeg is good here too), salt and vanilla and whisk/mix until smooth. Add oats and mix until all the oats are coated evenly. Spread the mixture on a baking sheet and bake at 325 for 10-15 minute, stirring once or twice at 5-7 minute intervals. The idea is to gently toast, NOT create brown spots. Add the nuts and stir in, then bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, again stirring once or twice. Remove from oven, cool, and stir in fruit.
Notes: this recipe can be doubled/tripled, whatever - but make sure you increase all ingredients accordingly and measure! Also make sure to use multiple baking sheets so that the granola has plenty of exposed surface area to dry out sufficiently and get nice and crunchy. AND whatever you do don't bake the dried fruit. Your teeth will thank you for remembering this. You can also switch out the vanilla for other extracts. One of our favorites is to use almond extract, almonds as the only nut and cranberries as the only fruit. Yum!