Monday, December 30, 2013

Chia Almond Granola

Let's get talkin' about granola. The homemade kind, like, is there any other kind?!?! Not in my world. 

My kiddos eat it. Hooray. It turns plain yogurt into amazing, to-die-for, let's eat this whole bowl, and have second and thirds good. Double Hooray. My husband lines the bottom of his squirrel traps with it. Hooray? 

He has watched every single episode of Duck Dynasty (some more than once) on Amazon Prime and now he thinks I need to cook him some squirrel Miss Kay style. Eating squirrel is something I left behind in my 7-year-old girl days when my parent's were the boss of what went into my mouth. Now I'm the boss of what enters my mouth and I say no squirrel goes in my mouth. On second thought, I take that back. This blog could really get popular with culinary squirrel enthusiasts if I created a squirrel recipe worth preparing and eating. Hmmm. How I included squirrel recipes and granola in the same post is beyond me. Let's get back to the granola. Shall we?

This recipe was inspired by a container of applesauce I had preserved this fall and had pulled out to eat during the long, cold, snowy, unbearable Minnesota winter, but unfortunately, never was finished off. The lonely jar sat in my fridge for a frightfully long time until one day the stars aligned and my granola ingredients were ready to become granola. After the obligatory sniff test and eyeball test I detected no apparent mold spores on the top of the puree so I deemed it was edible, but fit for creative consumption. Read: Granola made with applesauce. Just don't tell my family. I trick them into eating the most horrible things made into seemingly delicious things. 

This recipe is a one-bowl, one-pot, one-pan wonder. I can't stand dishes! Job hazard.
Oops. I take that back. You need two pans to roast the granola. The ingredients are pretty simple. Things you would have in a well-stocked pantry. The original recipe called for 5 cups of a multi-grain cereal. That is something I'd have to hunt down in the store, and as a busy mother of two I just don't have the patience for that. So, I used 5 cups of old-fashioned oats. Last time I baked this, I think I subbed 1 cup of wheat germ for the oatmeal and added a cup of flax seeds. Either way, your end result will be a deeply toasted, very crunchy, not very sweet, healthy granola. And that's a very good thing. 
After stirring the ingredients up in the biggest bowl you'll ever find in the cooking supply store you spread it on two cookie sheets. With the oven on low, you stir the slow-roasting granola every 10 minutes or so, it comes out of the oven smelling all toasty and cinnamony. Your hair will smell like cinnamon all day and you'll think your hair is edible and imagine eating your hair. But you'll know that's totally inappropriate, so you'll just sniff yourself and wait until you can wake up the next morning and eat cinnamon scented granola. Wait. Actually only I will do that. No one else is that weird.

This granola keeps really well in the pantry - up to 6 months or longer (if you're brave, like me). My kids love it on yogurt. I tried to serve it to them with just plain milk, trying to replace all the disgusting GMO cereals they love, but that was a fail. I'll keep trying, though. Trust me. 

Printable Recipe Here

Chia Almond Granola
adapted from David Lebovitz's Recipe

5 cups old-fashioned oats
3 cups almonds, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup chia seeds
1 cup sunflower seeds
3/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons coconut oil

Preheat oven to 300ºF.

In an extra-large bowl, stir together oats, chopped almonds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, brown sugar, cinnamon, ground ginger and sea salt.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan gently warm up applesauce, honey and coconut oil.

Stir the fruit puree mixture into the dry ingredients and mix well. Pour the mixture onto two baking sheets lined with parchment paper (parchment not required, but makes for an easier clean-up). Bake the granola for 45 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes, until the granola is a deep, golden color.

Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheets. Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.