Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Nice Spice Granola

When flipping through the November Bon Appetit last month, one of the pages I dog-eared (okay, put a torn part of a receipt in) was one with two delicious looking and simple recipes. I would love to say that I've made both of them, but the night I was going to make the squash, mushroom, and spinach one I ended up having too much homework and not buying the mushrooms. The squash though was eventually used in the risotto and the cake. And then a few other uses since that one squash sure stretched far bread pudding and a side dish weeks later).

But the granola recipe on the left side of the page, that I managed to make. I've only made granola a few times before, and while it was good, I was disappointed with my greasy results and lack of clumps. Store-bought granola seems to suffer the same dilemma sometimes too, and it always seems so expensive or not full of oats or ruined with chocolate. (Yes, I said chocolate. Please don't hurt me.)

I have a feeling that everyone in the house would have preferred that I didn't make the granola the first time around. It isn't that it wasn't good, but it involved some poor planning on my part that led to a nasty mood. I made it in the morning. Before school. And it isn't that granola is difficult, it just requires quite a bit of time in the oven. I woke up before six, so I figured I was all set. I was in the kitchen around 6:05 and had everything on the counter by 6:10. With 15 minutes to get it onto a baking sheet and 35 minutes in the oven, I was fine. It would be ready by seven o'clock. Except that it didn't need just 35 minutes in the oven. And it took my twenty minutes to get it into the oven. I somehow misread a time in the recipe and it really needed closer to an hour. I'll leave it to you to decide whether you want to know how the course of events and my disposition played out.

I will say this: it was tasty granola the next day. I just knew it could be better.

This time it was better. I made it at night, and though it kept me up until 9:30, it was better than running late for school.

Spiced Maple-Walnut Granola with Dried Cranberries
makes about 6 cups
(based on a recipe in November 2007 Bon Appetit, it resembles the original recipe, but I'm too lazy to find the link since I'm offline)

2/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons brown sugar, divided
1 heaping teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup egg whites (about 2 large)
3 cups old-fashioned or quick oats (my dad prefers quick because it isn't as hard, but I use old-fashioned since that is what I keep on hand)
1 cup walnut halves, halved
1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350F and grease a large rimmed baking sheet.

In a small saucepan stir in 1/4 cup brown sugar into maple syrup over medium heat to dissolve. Remove from heat and pour into a medium bowl to cool.

(If you get out all your ingredients before you start, I measure them while the syrup cools. That's also when I turn on the oven and grease the baking sheet)

Whisk cinnamon, allspice, vanilla, and egg whites into syrup. Stir in oats, remaining 2 Tablespoons of brown sugar, and walnuts to coat.

Spread the oat mixture onto the baking sheet into an even layer and bake in oven for 35 minutes. Remove from oven and flip over with a large metal spatula. The bottoms should be browned. Bake for an additional ten minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with dried cranberries. Return to oven for another 5 to 10 minutes or until dry.

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