Granola

I haven’t made granola in ages. This particular recipe is a little sweeter than what I usually make. I was hoping the sweetness would entice my kids to eat it. They both turned their noses up at it and refused to even try it. Oh well. I liked the granola. It tastes good. You can add different nuts, seeds, and dried fruits to suit your taste.

Granola

4 cups rolled (old-fashioned) oats (not quick cooking)
1 cup oat bran (or wheat germ)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup flaked coconut

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup dried fruit (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Combine oats, oat bran, sunflower seeds, sliced almonds, chopped pecans, and flaked coconut in a large bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, stir together the brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, oil, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and pour the hot liquid mixture over the dry ingredients. Stir until evenly coated. Spread the mixture out onto a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden, stirring every 10 minutes. Let the granola cool and then add the dried fruit, if using. Store the granola in an air-tight container.


Granola Bars

From September 16, 2005:  i’ve been searching for things to make to pack in my son’s (a very, very, very, picky eater) lunch.  i made these today.  well, my son wouldn’t eat them, but my hubby and i thought they were pretty yummy.  these granola bars are crispy (not chewy), just the way i like them.

as always, i made a few changes to this recipe.  i just realized now that i totally forgot to put in the almonds (dang, those would have been good).  i added about 3 tablespoons of ground flax seed at the time i combined the sugar mixture with the toasted oats mixture.  i also added 1/2 cup of chocolate chips (instead of dried fruit) and they got all melted and so i ended up with chocolate granola bars.  i have no complaints, though. : )  next time i will try them without the chocolate chips and add dried cherries instead.

Granola Bars
Makes 16 (2-inch) squares.

8 oz. old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 oz. raw sunflower seeds
3 oz. sliced almonds
1 1/2 oz. wheat germ
6 oz. honey
1 3/4 oz. dark brown sugar
1 oz. unsalted butter
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
6 1/2 oz. dried fruit

Butter 9×9-inch glass baking dish; set aside. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spread oats (about 2 cups), sunflower seeds (about 1/2 cup), almonds (about 1 cup) and wheat germ (about 1/2 cup) onto half-sheet pan.  Place in oven and toast 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, in medium saucepan, combine honey (about 1/2 cup), brown sugar, butter, vanilla extract and salt. Cook until brown sugar (about 1/4 cup packed) has dissolved completely. Once oat mixture is done, remove it from oven; reduce heat to 300 degrees. Immediately add oat mixture to liquid mixture, add chopped dried fruit (any combination of apricots, cherries or blueberries); stir to combine.  Turn mixture out into prepared baking dish and press down, evenly distributing mixture in dish; bake 25 minutes. Remove from oven; allow to cool completely. Cut into squares and store in airtight container for up to 1 week.

Recipe Source:  Food Network’s “Good Eats” and Alton Brown.


Cherry Crumble

This is a super easy dessert that is a perfect ending to any meal. There is no need to defrost the frozen cherries, but I do like to cut them in half before tossing them with the sugar, cornstarch, and almond extract.  Adjust the amount of sugar in this recipe to your tastes.  Some cherries are naturally sweeter than others and keep in mind that the crumble topping has sugar in it too. Nuts (almonds, pecans, or walnuts) are a great addition to the crumble.  Any frozen fruit could be used for this dish. Serve warm or at room temperature with whip cream or vanilla ice cream.

Cherry Crumble

•6 c. frozen cherries
•1/2 c. sugar
•2 Tbs corn starch
•1/2 tsp almond extract
•1/4 c. butter (1/2 stick), cold, cut into chunks
•1/2 c. flour
•1/2 c. brown sugar
•3/4 c. rolled oats
•1/4 tsp salt

Make your cherry filling: mix the cherries, sugar, almond extract and corn starch together.  Place in  baking dish.

Assemble your crumble:  combine the flour, brown sugar, oats, and salt in a bowl.  Work the cold butter into the mixture with a fork, pastry cutter, or with your hands until evenly distributed. Top the cherry filling with the crumble mixture.

Bake your crumble: bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.


Blackberry Crumble Bars

Blackberry Crumble Bars

From June 9, 2007:  I made these treats this morning for my hubby and son to take to a party this afternoon.  I thought they were really good, although a bit messy (crumbly). I adapted this recipe from one I found using raspberry jam and walnuts on the familyfun.com site.

Blackberry Crumble Bars

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut up
1/2 cup sifted confectioner’s sugar
2 cups unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant oatmeal)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup blackberry jam (preferably seedless)

Heat the oven to 375°. Grease a 9- by 9-inch baking pan with butter or non-stick cooking spray.

In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar until well blended. Add the flour and salt and beat just until the dough forms clumps. Don’t overmix. Turn out the dough onto a piece of waxed paper. Lightly flour your hands and squeeze the dough into a ball (the warmth of your hands will soften the dough enough to hold it together).

Divide the dough into thirds. Crumble one third into a bowl and set it aside. Press the remaining two thirds evenly into the greased pan and bake it on the center oven rack for about 10 minutes, until the edges of the dough are lightly golden. Set the pan on a wire rack.  While the dough cools, add the oats and pecans to the reserved dough in the bowl and pinch the ingredients together so that the mixture becomes crumbly.

Spread the blackberry jam on the baked shortbread (it’s OK if the dough is still warm), then cover the jam with an even layer of the crumb topping. Bake the bars for 20 to 24 minutes, until the top crumbs are golden brown, then set the pan back on the wire cooling rack.  While the shortbread is still slightly warm, cut it into 21/4-inch squares. Once the bars cool completely (they are very fragile while warm), lift them from the pan with a spatula.


Colorado Cowboy Cookies

Colorado Cowboy  Cookies

I made these cookies recently and they were super yummy. I used 1/8 cup of cookie dough for each cookie instead of 1/4 cup and they were still pretty honkin’ big. I used pecans instead of walnuts (it’s a Texas thing). These cookies would be great for a bake sale or a nice lunchbox treat.

Colorado Cowboy Cookies
Source:  Olive’s Sandwich Shop in SoHo, NYC

2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (packed) dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped toasted walnuts (about 4 ounces)

Whisk first 5 ingredients in medium bowl to blend.  Using electric mixer, beat butter and both sugars in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, beating to combine. Add dry ingredients and beat until just blended. Stir in the choand walnuts. Cover dough and chill 1 hour. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled. Let soften slightly before continuing.)

Arrange 2 racks in center of oven; preheat to 350°F. Butter 2 baking sheets. Form dough into balls, using 1/4 cup dough for each. Place on prepared sheets, spacing 2 inches apart. Flatten with hand to 3 1/2-inch rounds. Bake 10 minutes, then rotate sheets. Bake until cookies are golden brown around edges and firm in center, about 4 minutes longer. Cool on sheet 5 minutes. Transfer to racks to cool completely.


Blackberry Crumble

From August 4, 2005:  Last week, we met some friends at the Westmoreland Berry Farm and picked the most stunning blackberries I have ever seen.  Not only were they huge, they were also sweet and juicy…honestly, the best blackberries I have ever had.  I froze more than half of the 6 pounds I got for later use.  We ate many of the fresh berries out of hand.  With what was left, I made a blackberry crumble.

Crumbles are very easy to make.  Different fruits or a combination of fruits (what’s in season) can be used to make a variety of crumbles.  I have used apples, blueberries, and peaches.  Peaches and blueberries work well together.  If you don’t have fresh fruit, use frozen.  I like a lot of crumble topping, so sometimes I’ll double the recipe to get the ratio of topping/fruit I like.


Blackberry Crumble

Topping:
1 cup quick-cooking oats (I used 1/2 cup oats and 1/2 cup 9-grain cereal)
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1/3 cup wheat germ or oat bran
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Pinch of cinnamon
4 tablespoons butter

At least 2 cups fresh blackberries (frozen can be used instead)
1 – 2 tablspoons sugar (I used 1 packet of Splenda)

Preheat the oven to 350  degrees.

Combine the first 6 topping ingredients in a small bowl to make the crumble topping.

Wash the fresh blackberries and toss with sugar.  Pour the fruit into a lightly oiled 9-by 9-inch baking pan or round pie plate and pat in evenly. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the fruit.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the topping is golden and turning crisp. Allow to cool until just warm, then serve on its own or topped whipped cream, ice cream, or yogurt.


Blueberry Granola

blueberry granola

From February 20, 2006:  Here’s another quick and easy granola.  It turns out crunchy and not too sweet.  The molasses is a nice change.

Blueberry Granola

2 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
2/3 cups unsalted cashew halves
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
1/3 cup molasses
1/3 cup honey
1 T. canola oil
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup dried blueberries

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.  Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

Combine the oats, cashews, wheat germ, and sunflower seeds in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl, combine the molasses, honey, oil, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Pour molasses mixture over oat mixture and stir well to combine.  Spread evenly on prepared pan.   Bake 30 minutes or until golden, stirring after 15 minutes and frequently after that.  Remove from oven and cool completely.  Stir blueberries into granola mixture.