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> Ultimate Honey Granola March 16 2019, 0 Comments

I've never had much luck with granola recipes -- they are either too chewy, too hard, too sweet or there are too many hard-to-find ingredients. When my friend Linda offered to share her recipe for "Ultimate Irresistible Granola," I gave granola one more try, with fabulous results! 

The following is based on her recipe. I left out a few things, like sesame seeds and wheat germ, which aren't things I keep on hand and would make this recipe too much of a reach for me.

Also, Linda goes out of her way to break up the clusters so this is a cereal-like consistency. My granola dream has always been a bar-like result that sticks together but is not too crunchy -- something that can be eaten in the car without crumbs everywhere. You can choose your own adventure at the end to have "Linda-style" granola or mine. It tastes great either way! 

Ingredients

2.5 cups rolled, "old-fashioned" oats

1/2 cup chopped almonds

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup unsalted sunflower seeds (I could only find salted)

1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut

1/2 cup vegetable oil (canola, coconut, whatever, but I don't think olive oil would be good for this)

3/4 cup honey

1 cup total of dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, cherries ... I used just cranberries because it's all I had on hand, but a mixture would be nice)

Instructions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease/spray a cookie sheet unless you're using a nonstick one. 

In a large bowl, stir together the oats, nuts, seeds and coconut. In a small pan over medium heat, stir together the oil and honey, or heat in the microwave. Pour this over the nut mixture, stir to combine and spread evenly on cookie sheet. (Tip: don't wash that large bowl yet, as it will come in handy when adding the dried fruit later.)

Bake about 25 minutes, turning the mixture once during cooking, until nuts and oats are toasted. After removing from oven, add the dried fruit and stir well. (Tip: don't be tempted to overcook the granola because it seems too soft; it will harden when it cools!)

Option 1: Allow to cool thoroughly. If you want a coarse cereal-like texture, stir the mixture a couple of times to break up chunks.

Option 2: If you want bars, line the same cookie sheet with parchment or waxed paper and press the still-warm mixture back onto the cookie sheet in an even layer. You can use your fingers or another piece of waxed paper to really compact the granola so it has a better chance of sticking together in bar form. You can score it while it's still warm to make it easier to get out later. Let cool completely. There will still be lots of crumbs when you remove the bars, but you can sprinkle these on top of yogurt or ice cream.  

Store in an airtight container or bag at room temperature for up to two weeks. 


> Honey-Pumpkin Muffins September 25 2013, 0 Comments

I make these muffins year round, because they are my daughter's favorite, but they seem to taste better in the fall. I think it's the spices — cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg whet our appetites for warm sustenance and mirror the warm colors of autumn.

These muffins are not gluten-free, vegan or anything else like that, but they are full of Vitamin A, protein, fiber and other healthful things. They make a simple, filling breakfast, and they travel well for weekend get-aways! This recipe is for a huge batch; I don't have lots of time to bake, so when I make 'em, I make 'em! (They freeze beautifully, but this recipe can easily be cut in half.)

Pumpkin-Honey Muffins

(makes 24 regular-size muffins, or 48 mini-muffins)

Dry ingredients — mix all these together:

3 cups whole wheat flour; 1/4 cup flax seed, ground after measuring; 1.5 tsp. baking powder; 1.5 tsp. baking soda; 1/2 tsp. salt; 1 cup brown sugar, not packed; 2 tsp. cinnamon; 1 tsp. nutmeg; 1 tsp. ginger

Then add these:

2 cups cooked, puréed pumpkin (or one 15 oz. can); 3/4 cup honey; 3/4 cup vegetable oil; 4 eggs, lightly beaten

Mix everything together, but don't over-mix. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (or 325 degrees convection). Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake regular-size muffins 25 minutes (20 in convection), or bake mini-muffins 20 minutes (14 in convection). You may leave the flax seed out with no serious consequences to taste or texture.