Monday, March 19, 2012

Home-made Granola

I'm a cold cereal lover, but there just isn't much choice in cereal available here at a price I can afford.  So, there's corn flakes and there's corn flakes....about three brands of them sometimes!  So, without Wheaties, Frosted Mini Wheats, and Raisin Bran, what do we do for breakfast?

We can buy oatmeal here, so we have that once or twice a week.  One day a week we do eggs.  Once a week we eat fonio (I'll do a blog on that later).  On Saturdays John always makes pancakes.  And on Sunday we'll often have something like coffee cake or sticky buns....that kind of depends on my energy level on Saturday!  But one of my favorite breakfasts is yogurt with granola on it.  

Sometimes in the stores here I can find Muesli Croustillant - Chocolat Noir.  Yep, you read that right.  Muesli with dark chocolate in.  See, the French have figured out that chocolate is a breakfast food.  I can't argue with that!  So when one day I went to the store and there was no more Muesli with chocolate chunks in it, I didn't know what I would do.  This cereal was actually quite reasonably priced, but alas.....who knew when the next shipment would be.  It was time to dust off the old granola recipe that I haven't used for about four years.

First off, what's the difference between granola and muesli.  Granola is mixed with oil and honey and toasted in the oven.  Purchased granola can be very high in calories, depending on how much oil and sweetener is in it.  Muesli is more just dried cereals and grains mixed together.  What I make is definitely granola, but I put in the least amount of oil possible.  The end result is granola that is quite loose and not in big chunks.

My recipe is from the More with Less Cookbook.  This book uses basic ingredients and shows us how to "eat better and consume less of the world's limited food resources".  The recipe is on p. 89 if you have the book and want to use the recipe there.

It calls for 7 cups of dry ingredients with at least 2-3 cups of that being oats.  So I put in my granola:
oatmeal (imported)
cornmeal (local ingredient)
coconut ("local" ingredient....probably comes from Benin)
milk powder (imported)
crushed cornflakes (imported)
sesame seeds (local ingredient)
peanuts (local ingredient)
fonio (local ingredient)
millet (local ingredient)
wheat germ (brought from US)
flax seed (brought from US)

Then you combine separately to make 1 cup of liquids:
1/2 cup brown sugar and 2 Tablespoons water (imported from Nigeria)
1/2 cup oil (imported)
the rest honey (local ingredient)


You then pour the liquid into the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir until it is evenly coated.  Then you spread it on cookie sheets (I use two really large sheets) and put it in a 300 degree oven.  My oven has a tendency to get hotter and hotter, so I have to stir it about every 8 minutes. I also switch the pan from the bottom rack to the top and the top to the bottom.  I take it out when it's no longer moist and is just starting to look brown.  More with Less says to let it bake 30-60 minutes, but I find that 30 minutes is plenty of time in my oven.


Then the piece de resistance....the chocolate.  I chop up a dark chocolate candy bar and stir it into the granola.  Half of the granola I stir raisins into (I think they're really currants) for John as he's not find of the chocolate idea. (I cut up the cereal boxes to use as my labels.)  Ummmm, yum.....perfect on top of yogurt.  I don't put sugar or vanilla into my yogurt as I find it sweet enough with the granola.

I also found a recipe in my bread machine cookbook that calls for granola.  I made this bread with my home-made granola (the raisin version) and it was delicious!

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