Friday, June 14, 2013

Cherry and Walnut Granola

As a child, my father made my siblings and I pancakes for breakfast everyday, but for the past few years, I have eaten cold cereal for breakfast almost daily because it is just so convenient. I need more variety in my life. This winter I started preparing a large batch of steal-cut oats every week, but summers are too hot for warm cereal. Granola with yogurt is quick, tasty, and nourishing. Additionally, it is not cold cereal.

This recipe is a combination of two recipes. I was only going to use one recipe, but my Internet searches indicated an egg white makes a crunchier granola. The second recipe also added nuts before baking, and I know toasted nuts are more flavorful than raw.

The ingredients I used are heaping ½ cup walnuts, heaping 1 cup dried cherries, 3 cups rolled oats, 3 tablespoons light brown sugar, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/3 cup honey, ¼ cup coconut oil, and 1 teaspoon vanilla.

I added the oatmeal, light brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl.

I mixed all the dry ingredients.

In a separate bowl, I added the oil, honey, and vanilla. I first added the oil in order to lubricate the wet measuring cup. The honey did not stick to the sides of the cup because of the residue coconut oil. I then thoroughly mixed the wet ingredients.

I poured the wet ingredients into the oatmeal mixture and stirred to combine.

I decided to add the walnuts and egg white at this time. As I mentioned earlier, the egg white makes the final product crunchier.

Walnuts are the seeds of the tree. The walnut and its shell grow in green, inedible husks. The husks contain juice that is used as dye. Walnuts should be stored in cool, dry places.

I poured the granola onto a cookie sheet and placed it in an oven preheated to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. I stirred the granola every 10 minutes for a total of 40 minutes. Regularly stirring insured that I had small granola crumbles instead of a granola sheet. You can change the baking time depending on your granola texture preference, but keep in mind the granola will become crispier as it cools. One benefit of making this recipe is that your house smell like you are making oatmeal cookies, and since it’s granola, you can fool yourself into believing it’s healthy.

Once I was satisfied at how dry the granola had become, I let the granola cool and added dried cherries.

The granola can be kept in an airtight container for up to two weeks. I enjoyed the combination of cherries and walnuts, but you could switch them for your favorite dried fruit and nut. I think dried mangos, banana chips, coconut flakes, and macadamia nuts would make an excellent tropical granola.

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