Homemade Granola In Less Than An Hour

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One of the healthy changes we've incorporated into our routine this year is making our own granola.

After reviewing dozens of brands, I found that even those advertised to be "healthy" or "naked" contained a few disguised chemicals and allergens at the tail end of the ingredient list, often labeled as "natural flavors."

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Making granola at home takes less than a minute to mix, less than an hour to bake and allows you to control ingredients and flavors; which is especially good for people with food allergies.

Following is a base recipe that is perfect on its own, but also once mixed, provides an ideal flavor base for your favorite seeds, nuts or dried fruits.

Brown sugar and dark, grade B maple syrup add a deep caramelized flavor to the oats, enhanced by the oat's nutty notes after being toasted in the oven. The addition of egg white provides a boost of lean protein and helps form crunchy clusters with slightly tender, chewy centers.

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Wicked Good Granola

Servings: makes 2 cups
Allergies: soy free, gluten free, nut free, dairy free
Fancy equipment: parchment paper

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons organic brown sugar
3 tablespoons organic grade B dark maple syrup
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 egg white, lightly beaten but not foamy (optional)
pinch of Kosher salt
2 cups gluten-free thick cut rolled oats (not instant)
1/4 cup each seeds, nuts, dried fruits (optional)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix the sugar, maple syrup, olive oil, (optional) egg white and salt in a small bowl until well incorporated and the sugar is well moistened.

Place the oats in a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar mixture to the oats and gently stir until the oats are well coated. Mixture will be sticky. Add (optional) seeds, nuts or dried fruits at this time and stir to incorporate.

Pour the oats onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and, using the back of a spoon, spread and press into a thin, single layer.

Bake 40 minutes or until granola is golden and just crisp around the edges. Remove from oven and allow to cool 15 minutes on the baking sheet. Break into clusters and store in an air-tight container for up to two weeks.

Can I omit the egg white?
Yes, but the texture of the granola will be different. The egg white acts as a binder, resulting in clusters of granola. Without it, the oats remain somewhat separate and flake-like. The flavor is the same, but the mixture will be loose and more like a cereal.

I think this is too much sugar for me. Can I reduce it?
Yes. We found that 3 tablespoons each of brown sugar and maple syrup added the perfect amount of sweetness to two cups of oats, but if you prefer to use less, you can reduce to 2 tablespoons of each without changing the texture of the recipe. If reducing to 1 tablespoon of each, you'll need to adjust the liquid by adding a little bit more olive oil or water to ensure the oats are moist enough before baking. Fruit juice (straight from the fruit) can also be used to replace moisture — half an orange should do the trick.

Can I make this fat-free?
Yes. You can omit the olive oil, but will need to replace the moisture with water or fruit juice.

A pinch of salt hardly seems like enough. Can I add more?
Nope, only us a pinch. The Kosher salt doesn't have much time to dissolve into the mixture and sets up on the outside of the oats. Because of this, the salt is more easily tasted on the tongue. A small pinch goes a very long way.

Can I omit the salt?
Yes, you can omit without much change in flavor.

Can I make granola bars out of this recipe?
Yes! Place the mixture into a parchment-lined baking pan or casserole dish(like one you would use for brownies). Press the mixture into the pan to flatten and make even, then score the desired bar size with a knife. Bake for 40 minutes and immediately cut along the score lines again. Allow to cool for 15 minutes and break the bars apart. If you like a chewier bar, increase the egg white to 2 instead of 1.

Post by Dawn Viola : www.wickedgooddinner.blogspot.com