Monday, May 18, 2009

Homemade granola and (new!) granola bars

When I met T., she lived on oatmeal, bagels, banana smoothies, and protein bars. She has a much more varied diet now, and a favorite of both of ours is my homemade granola. This recipe literally takes 15 minutes, at most, to throw in the oven. And I'm going to share with you a few tricks to make it even easier.

It's adapted from this recipe by Mollie Katzen. I've made it so many times I pretty much have the recipe memorized, with my variations.

Mix together, in a large bowl:

--4 cups rolled oats
--1 cup ground flaxseed
--1 cup sunflower seeds
--1 cup peanuts

You can vary these last 3 ingredients based on whatever grains/nuts/seeds you have around--wheat germ, coconut, sesame seeds, almonds, walnuts, etc.

In a separate container (I use a 2 cup glass measuring cup), mix:

--3/4 cup canola oil
--1/2 cup agave nectar

(I use agave instead of honey or maple syrup because my friends in acupuncture/ayurveda tell me it's a much healthier choice for a sweetener. It tastes great.)

Pour the agave/oil mixture into the large bowl with the oats mixture.

Mix in:

--1/2 tsp of salt
--1 cup rice protein powder

(I prefer the plain protein powder flavor over the vanilla, because I think the vanilla gives it more of a "processed foods" taste).

Pour onto a 13x18 inch baking tray, which has been covered with parchment paper. (I tried oiling/spraying it, and the granola still stuck and made clean-up a real hassle, twice as time-consuming as actually making the granola.)

Bake for 35-45 minutes at 325 F. Let cool. Store in glass jars in the freezer. It becomes crunchy and yummier as it cools, and keeping it in the freezer helps it retain the crunchiness. (She recommends crumbling 1/3 cup of sugar on after it comes out of the oven. I don't find the added sweetness at all necessary.)

Now, if you, like me, have a kid in college who loves your granola, or you, like me, have limited time for even this much cooking, I recommend you make 2 batches of the recipe at once. Do everything above twice, with 2 large bowls, 2 baking trays, etc. It's easy to pour each ingredient, one in each bowl, at the same time.

You could also use the second batch to whip up some homemade granola bars. You see, it is a sore point in my relationship with T. that I cannot get her to stop eating processed protein bars. I am opposed to them because they are highly processed and it just kills me to spend that kind of money on something I'm sure I could make myself. She loves the convenience of them, and let's face it, when I'm not around, she doesn't eat anything that requires ANY kind of preparation. Besides that, up until now, I have not found an adequate homemade substitute. However, we have managed to stay together for 13 years despite the stash of protein bars in our cupboard.

I think I may have found the solution. Inspired by Jody's recipe and the one at Bittersweet, I came up with the following granola bar recipe.

Combine these ingredients in a pan and heat to boiling, over medium heat:

--1/2 cup of sugar
--1/2 cup of agave nectar
--1/2 cup of peanut butter

Pour over 3 cups of the above granola. Mix together really well, pour it into an 8x8 glass pan, use a spatula to make it even, and put in the fridge to harden.

I just had one, and WOW! These are great! I would like to find a way to do it without the sugar, as it's not good for me, and they're a little too sweet for my taste anyway.

Now, we'll have to see what T. thinks...


Anonymous said...

We always make our own granola but only recently made granola bars - after we slightly overcooked a batch of the granola and needed to use it up somehow.

Thanks for sharing your recipe!

Hannah said...

If you want to decrease the sugar, you can replace half of it with powdered soymilk. I'm glad you liked them though!


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