210: Extreme Granola
I’ve had a smoothie for breakfast just about every single weekday since mid-May, and unfortunately, I’m starting to get tired of them. I’m not ready to switch over to hot breakfasts, like the steel-cut oats or toast like I have during the winter, nor do I have the time to sit and eat a breakfast that I cook fresh in the mornings. I’m not sick of the yogurt in the smoothies, not really, but I’m getting a little bored with the fruit that I buy on sale.
Thus, I decided to finally make granola. As luck would have it, I came across a new granola recipe – Extreme Granola. Why is it extreme? I’m not really sure, unless it’s the stick of butter that goes into it.
I’ve never made granola before, but the process to make this was simple. I chopped the nuts before I toasted them, although I was apparently supposed to do this the other way around. A few of them scorched. I melted the butter (yes, I used actual butter instead of margarine or oil) in the microwave, added honey and salt, and added the oats to the bowl to mix before spreading on the baking sheet. I stirred the oats halfway through (per instructions), and baked 30 minutes.
This granola smelled very buttery as it baked. If you know me, you’ll know this isn’t a good thing as I don’t like butter very much. I thought about using margarine or oil instead, but I wanted to get the full experience of the recipe. Once the oats cooled, I added the nuts and 1 1/4 cups mixed dried berries (rather than dates and blueberries).
Clearly, this is not a “healthy” recipe, per se. It has a lot of fat and seems relatively calorific to me. The nutritional info on the recipe says it has 298 calories per half cup, which means you certainly shouldn’t eat a lot of it. I wanted to try this, rather than a lower-calorie, lower-fat recipe, because I don’t normally eat granola and wanted a baseline recipe against which to compare future granola recipes.
That said, this granola was pretty tasty. I didn’t think it tasted too buttery. I’ve had it with a healthy dose of milk (as cereal), with yogurt (fruity and vanilla/plain combo), and blended into a smoothie. It’s not a clumpy granola – it’s much more like flavored oats combined with stuff.
I enjoyed this, but I think that my next granola recipe will be either a) more distinctive with its flavorings, or b) lower in fat and calories. If you don’t care about having your homemade granola be lower calorie or more distinctive, though, give this a try.
- 3/4 cups pecans (chopped)
- 1/2 cup slivered or sliced almonds
- 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds (optional)
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted)
- 1/3 cup maple syrup or honey
- 1/4 teaspoon table salt
- 3/4 cup chopped dates
- 1/2 cup dried blueberries or raisins
Line a large baking sheet with foil. Toast pecans and almonds at 375F for 8-10 minutes (but check early so they don't burn). Remove from the oven. Pour into a bowl and let cool. Reduce oven temperature to 300F.
Combine oats, sesame seeds (if using), melted butter, maple syrup or honey, and salt. Spread on lined baking sheet. Bake at 300F for 30 minutes, stirring once. Let cool. Combine with chopped nuts and fruit. Store in airtight containers for up to one month.