Monday, August 13, 2012

Cranberry Granola


I like to think of making granola as playtime in the kitchen.  Cooking freedom at its best, granola is a very versatile and open-ended concoction.  Add whatever suits your fancy to the bulk of the cereal, add a blend of oil and something sweet to stick it together, dry it out in the oven, and there you have it.  You will find about as many granola "recipes" as there are kitchens.   I started with this recipe from Eating Well because I was intrigued by the use of the juice concentrate.  Have fun, and make your own creative alterations! 
Here's what I did to make it work for us:

2/3 cup frozen unsweetened apple juice concentrate, thawed
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup packed muscavado brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 teaspoons vanilla
6 cups old fashioned rolled oats, (use 5 cups if you prefer your granola sweeter)
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats, processed to a coarse flour (about 3/4 cup coarse oat flour)
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1 cup sliced almonds (pecan pieces would be lovely!)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup dried cranberries, divided

1.  Preheat to 325°F. Lightly grease two large rimmed baking sheets and set aside.

2.  Stir together apple juice concentrate, maple syrup or honey, oil and brown sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla, cinnamon and salt.

3.  Mix oats, oat flour, ground flaxseed, almonds and sunflower seeds in a large bowl. Stir in the juice mixture; toss to coat. Spread the granola evenly on the prepared baking sheets.

4.  Bake the granola for 15 minutes, stirring once or twice. Reverse sheets top to bottom and continue baking until lightly browned and aromatic, stirring a few times, about 15 minutes more. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks; stir 1/2 cup dried cranberries into the granola on each sheet. Let cool completely.

**If baking only one tray of granola at a time, reduce baking time.  The amount of time listed allows for two trays to bake in the oven at once.  Only one tray in the oven alters the time necessary.  Just keep on eye on your granola.  Burnt granola is not so fun...

**I store our granola in jars that are just the right amount for our family's breakfast.  They keep nicely in the freezer until we need them!

5 comments:

  1. Mmmmmm! I wish I had some of this already made for my breakfast this morning; this looks delicious!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. and I wish I could share some with you! ;)

      Delete
  2. Do you think other fruit juices would work in this recipe? I'm thinking about a cherry juice...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Certainly! It needs to be juice concentrate to bring out enough flavor, but I think that cherry sounds fun! Hmmm, that makes me think...maybe add dried cherries, and maybe even a tiny bit of almond extract...have fun playing!

      Delete
  3. Have you ever tried "Lazy Granola" method? It eliminated the watching and multiple stirring times. We love it here!

    Here is the basic recipe: http://lynnskitchenadventures.com/lra/nut-free-homemade-granola/

    And here is the one that I believe is adaptable to your fruit juice concentrate: http://www.lynnskitchenadventures.com/2011/05/homemade-strawberry-granola.html

    I think your idea of using fruit juice concentrate might work better than using the jam in the second recipe...it would give a stronger fruit flavor.

    I'm going to try the lazy granola method using your recipe with the fruit juice concentrate...can't wait!!!

    She also has several other granola recipes on her site.

    LK

    ReplyDelete