Monday, June 27, 2011

What I talk about when I talk about granola

You know what the main problems with store-bought granola are?

- It tends to be kind of powdery.
- It's just not always as crispy/crunchy as I'd like.
- They skimp on the tasty bits, like dried fruit and nuts. 

HAD I KNOWN that granola was so easy to make, I would have done so long ago. But maybe this was just my time, since I just bought a book recommended by my friend Michelle, and in it is this delectable, crunch-gasmic, awesome recipe for granola.

The book is "Babycakes Covers the Classics." It's full of gluten-free, vegan BAKED recipes. The clincher for me was the donut recipe. Since he figured out he's gluten-intolerant, my husband has been lamenting the loss of donuts in his life. I'm looking forward to bringing them back.

FYI, Babycakes is actually a vegan bakery in New York, and from what I understand they're going to be opening one in San Francisco soon. I will definitely make a pilgrimage.

And for those of you who are like: I thought you hate vegan food! Be ye not mistaken: I pretty much do. But when it comes to baked goods, I can't use gluten, and my husband also happens to be sensitive to dairy, so vegan pastries will do us just fine.

Now, on to the granola!

This is my favorite way to eat granola, but the way this stuff tastes I can totally see myself snacking on it throughout the day. Could be dangerous.

Here are your ingredients -- gluten-free oats (Bob's Red Mill makes 'em), agave nectar, ginger, cinammon, pecans (optional, but why would you NOT?), dried berries (I used cranberries - awesome), canola oil or coconut oil, and unsweetened coconut (not pictured: salt).

You throw all this stuff together in a bowl, then you smooth it out on a rimmed baking sheet that's covered with a piece of parchment paper.
Go bake, you delicious bastard.

And then you bake for 15 minutes, stir, then bake for another 10 or 15 minutes. Your house will smell like oatmeal cookies and you will feel very domestic and accomplished.

Here's what it looks like straight out of the oven. For the most part it doesn't have those big chunks that some store-bought granolas have, but it doesn't NEED them. It's still crunchy and flavorful. The pecans have a wonderful roasted flavor and the cranberries get even chewier and yummier. There's just no comparing fresh granola and store-bought. Fresh is gonna win every time.

Now to round it all out, here's breakfast again. 

Strawberries, blueberries, greek yogurt, and granola. Seriously the best granola I've ever had. 

Now, for non-fanatics of granola, be ye warned: My husband says this is "pretty good." He's not on the granola bandwagon. Probably if it had M&Ms in it he would like it better.

For the rest of you -- what are you waiting for? I'll post the recipe below -- hopefully Erin McKenna won't mind! 


- 4 cups gluten-free oats (if gluten is not a concern for you feel free to use regular oats)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1.5 cups unsweetened coconut
- 1 cup pecans (optional)
- 1 cup dried berries (cranberries or blueberries are the bomb)
- 1/3 cup melted refined coconut oil or canola oil
- 1/3 cup agave nectar

Preheat oven to 350. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the oats, salt, cinnamon, ginger, coconut, pecans (if using), and dried berries and mix together. Add the coconut oil and agave nectar and toss until the oats are covered. Pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, stir, and continue baking for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until the granola is golden brown. Remove the granola from the oven and allow to cool before serving.

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