Thursday, February 16, 2017

DIY: Yummiest Homemade Granola

I want my family to feel good about what they eat.  As much as I can, I serve homemade and nutrient packed food that also tastes great. Let's be honest, it's a challenge to come up with something that's healthy and yummy, too. It takes a lot of trial and error on my part.

This granola recipe is both yummy and healthy... and super easy to make pa. I promise you. It's everything that a granola should be: crispy, crunchy, nutty. It's also healthy, nutrient-packed and super-simple. After you make this one, you will never buy granolas again. 

My homemade granola recipe has ingredients like quinoa, chia seeds, flax seeds, tree nuts, etc and uses natural sweeteners over processed sugar. Golden slivers of dried mangoes and red gems of goji berries add a visual delight as well.





ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS:


You can basically mix up and substitute ingredients as long as you stick to the general proportions.

1. GRAINS. 4 cups of grains. What I do is use 3 cups of old-fashioned whole rolled oats (not instant or quick-cooking oats) as base and I use 1 cup of alternative grains just to mix things up and add some more nutrition.  Personally, I like to use uncooked quinoa. They turn out nice and crunchy after you bake them. Feel free to mix up, basta just make sure you keep your DRY-WET ratios in proportion.

2. NUTS. 1-1/2 cups.  I always use raw almonds because it is what is always available in my pantry. But I have used walnuts, macadamia, hazelnuts, cashews, as well. I always buy raw tree nuts, so I add them in before baking, but if you are using roasted nuts, then add them AFTER you bake the oats base na, otherwise the nuts are going to get burned.

3. SWEETENER. 1/2 to 3/4 cup. Adjust to your own preference. Also, more sweeteners result to a clumpier granola. I alternately use raw honey or pure maple syrup, or sometimes I mix them. If you are after a purely vegan granola then use maple syrup. I also like to add coco sugar to my granolas.

4. OIL. 1/4 to 1/2 cup. Oil is important because it is what makes the granola crunchy and keeps it from turning into a sticky mess. I like to use coconut oil because it doesn't have a heavy flavor so it won't alter the taste of the granola.

5. SALT. 1 tsp kosher salt or 3/4 tsp iodized salt. 

6. EGG WHITE.  1 egg white. This will help bind the granola together, important if you are going for clusters.



ADD-ON INGREDIENTS

I always add nuts and seeds to my homemade granola for flavor, texture and added nutrients



1. SEEDS. 1 cup. Mix in raw seeds like chia, flax, sunflower, sesame, wheat bran or wheat germ with grains and nuts and they’ll toast while baking. Add 1-2 kinds at a time.

2. COCONUT FLAKES/SHREDS— 1/2 cup. I add my coconut shreds in the last 15 minutes of baking to make sure that they just toast nicely and won't get burned.

3. DRIED FRUIT — 1 cup. The most important thing to remember if you’re adding dried fruit to granola is that you should NOT mix it in with the other ingredients until AFTER baking. The fruit will get too dry and awkwardly crunchy and you and your molars will be unhappy.

4. CHOCOLATE - 1/4 cup cocoa nibs if you are trying to be healthy or 1 cup semi-sweet choco chips if you feel like indulging. Again, this is to be added after the granola has cooled down.


GENERAL TIPS:

1.   Factors that affect how clumpy your granola will be:

  • More sweeteners will generally result to a clumpier granola. 
  • For a clumpier granola, lightly press it down on the baking sheet and don't stir mixture until it's done baking.
  • If you want a flaky granola, omit egg white, lessen sweetener and give mixture a stir every 20 minutes to break clumps. 

2.  Feel free to substitute ingredients, but keep your ratio of wet-to-dry ingredients roughly the same as the original recipe to ensure the most reliable results,

3. Bake granola at a low temp. I bake mine at 250 F for 1-1/2 hours approximately, but if you're in a hurry, you can do it in 300 degrees for an hour or less. But nothing higher than that na because ingredients like nuts, seeds, and coconut are likely to burn before the batch has a chance to properly dry out and crisp up. Stick with a low temperature, watch it often and stir it from time to time to help it brown evenly.

4. Know When to Add Your Ingredients. In general, nuts and seeds can go straight into your raw oat mixture so they can toast while they bake. For ingredients like dried fruits, cacao nibs, choco chips, wait until AFTER baking to add.



Yummiest Homemade Granola 

3 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup quinoa
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 ground flax seeds
1 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup coco sugar (or brown sugar)
1/2 cup honey (or maple syrup if you want it strictly vegan)
1/4 cup coconut oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup dried fruits 
1/2 cup cacao nibs (or choco chips if you feel indulgent)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
2. In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, seeds and brown sugar.
3. In a separate bowl, combine honey/maple syrup, oil, and salt. Combine both mixtures and pour onto 2 sheet pans. Cook for 1 hour and 20 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes to achieve an even color. Add in coconut shreds the last 20 minutes of baking.
4. Remove from oven and transfer into a large bowl. Add dried fruits and cacao, and mix until evenly distributed.


This makes a big batch, so you can store half of it in a big mason jar inside the ref, 
and the other half in a ziploc bag in the freezer.




If you want to try your hand at making granola bars, you can get the recipe here: http://thephenomenalmama.blogspot.com/2014/09/granola-bars-homemade-nutrient-packed.html



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