Kitchen Sink Granola
I ran a test on Twitter last week that pretty much confirmed what I thought was true. I sent out a quick Tweet asking for people to send me their favorite granola ingredients. Here’s a quick sampling of the dozen or so responses I got:
– @jessicabair: Honey & Blueberries
– @lowrha: Maple syrup, walnuts, cinnamon, nutmeg, and dried strawberries.
– @gardenvarieties: coconut, dried fig & apricot, pecans.
– @outlawdiva: Sesame seeds, oats, flax seeds, walnuts, cashews, raisins (all colors), currants, honey, maple syrup.
– @onmaggiesfarm: Maple syrup, almonds, unsweetened coconut. I mix up the flavor with spices: cardamom, nutmeg, ginger.
– @melissamauk: Applesauce, pepitas, brown rice syrup and oats.
Honestly, it was probably my most responded to tweet ever. People have opinions about granola and all their opinions are different!
So I called my theory confirmed… my theory, of course, being that you can put almost anything in granola.
Because of this, it’s the perfect way to clean out your pantry and use up extra nuts, spices, and fruits. So let’s make some!
1) Grind any whole spices you are using and roughly chop nuts.
2) Add spices, seeds, and nuts to oats and mix well to combine.
3) Add sweetener to mixture and stir well.
4) Spread granola out onto two baking sheets. Make sure there is an even layer on both sheets.
5) Bake granola at 300 degrees for 20-30 minutes, stirring every 3-5 minutes. Keep a really close eye on it.
6) Remove granola once it’s golden brown and let it cool for a few minutes.
7) Add dried fruit to granola and let it cool completely.
8) Stir in a large plastic bag and serve with yogurt or milk.
This might surprise you, but I have a pretty ridiculous pantry on any given day. Because I make a very wide range of dishes here on Macheesmo, I have a drawer full of almost any spice you could want, a full inventory of nuts and seeds, various dried fruits, and a ton of other random stuff.
And sometimes, I need to clean house. This is the perfect recipe for such a task. Out of all the things in my kitchen sink granola, I only bought two items: Oats and agave syrup. I had honey and maple syrup in my pantry also, but I wanted to try agave so I picked some up.
So I encourage you to use what you have for this recipe and not copy me exactly. It’ll be good. Trust me.
While it isn’t really all that important what you put in your granola, it is important how you make it. You’re shooting for a nice crunchy granola that’s toasted, but not burned. It’s a very fine line.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. First, I needed to grind up some whole spices. If you have them, use them, otherwise don’t. I wouldn’t buy new spices just for this recipe frankly.
Mix your oats with all the spices and seeds very well. I had a spice attack for this version!
I’ve never used agave syrup before and it’s becoming the talk of the town so I figured I’d jump on the bandwagon.
Since agave is the same stuff that Tequila is made from, I was pretty sure this syrup would make me puke and blackout, but it did nothing of the sort. Probably because it doesn’t have alcohol in it, but still. I was worried.
In actuality, it’s a really good syrup. It has a very unique flavor and it isn’t quite as sweet as honey. I think it worked great for granola.
Once I had all my spices, nuts, and seeds mixed in with my oats, I added my agave and stirred it all together!
Baking the granola
Ok. The tricky part is baking this stuff. Spoon out the granola mixture onto two baking sheets and try to make sure the granola is in a pretty even layer over the sheets. This will make sure it cooks evenly.
Bake this stuff at 300 degrees for 20-30 minutes. Stir it every few minutes, five at the most. This is really important because the edges will cook slightly faster than the center and if you don’t stir it often, you’ll end up with burned edges.
As it gets closer to being done, check it very frequently, every three minutes or so. You definitely don’t want to burn the stuff, but you do want it to be golden brown. It’s a bit tricky, but as long as you keep an eye on it, you should be okay.
In short, this is not a recipe where you can walk away from the kitchen and do something else for 30 minutes and expect to come back to anything edible.
But if you keep an eye on it and stir it frequently, you’ll be well rewarded with some beautiful granola.
Once your granola comes out of the oven, let it cool for 5-10 minutes and then toss in any dried fruit that you want to add to it. Again, I added some dried cherries and cranberries because that’s what I had on hand.
Once the granola is cooled completely you can store it in a large freezer bag.
This stuff will keep for weeks without a problem.
I like to eat mine with milk, but Betsy likes hers with yogurt.
It also happens that I made granola that almost exactly matches the counters in my kitchen.
Am I right or what?
If your pantries are looking slightly overrun these days or if you’re just sick of your normal breakfasts, this is a really good way to use stuff up and change stuff up!
So, I have to ask. What’s your favorite granola ingredients? Leave a comment!