My expensive love affair ended
For the past couple months I’ve had a costly little addiction. At the supermarket, I would look furitively around, and then quickly slip the $7.00 granola into my cart. It all began rather innocently. Trader Joe’s used to carry a my favorite granola– not too sweet, no strange clumps– just plain, 70′s style granola, like I grew up with. Then suddenly, doing my normal grocery shopping one day a couple years ago with two jabbering pre-schoolers, I was confronted with the ugly truth– the only granolas on their shelves were sweet, and were very clumpy (clustered, actually). I tried a few, here and there, but they always ended up languishing in the cupboard too long, until my kids or husband finally finished them off. I had some limited success– Cascadian Farms makes a passable one (plain, just raisins, but it was still too sweet), and Bare Naked granola was very very close– but not quite. I felt a bit like Goldilocks. Then one day, I saw a little recommendation slip in our local grocery chain that have high marks for Cafe Fanny granola. The price was a little shocking, but then, I was desperate by this point.
I brought it home, and was in love. It had a little toasted taste, was crunchy, not too sweet, and had plenty of unalderated nuts in it. The only problem– the price. (For more on Cafe Fanny granola chowhound.com–one of my favorite sites on food and restaurants to check out before traveling, or just because– has a nice thread on granola that discusses the greatness (taste) and downfalls (price) of Cafe Fanny granola) If that was going to be my only luxury, if I could give up chocolate, and books, and clothes, and well, chocolate and books, then it would be okay. But something had to give.
I’m just not strong enough to give up chocolate and books for granola, so I ventured to the web, and found a couple likely looking recipes and came up with my very own “Cafe Jessie” granola. Just my style, and ringing in at about $2 for the same amount, but of course, I made about twice as much. I wouldn’t want a granola shortage.
Cafe Jessie Granola
adapted from Crunchy Granola (by the minimalist, I think) on the New York Times site (I was lead there by a blog post that I neglected to note)
I also took a few hints from Dels Grand Canyon Granola from Sunset, but this one also used sugar and has hints for chocolate, which I ignored.
4 cups rolled oats (not quick-cooking or instant— although mine were unmarked in a bulk bag, in my cupboard, so I can’t vouch that mine weren’t quick-cooking)
1 1/2 cups nuts and seeds: sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, chopped walnuts, pecans, almonds or cashews (I didn’t have the last two nuts, but will probably add slivered almonds in the future)
1/2- 1 cup dried unsweetened shredded coconut
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, or to taste
1/2 cup maple syrup (my choice) or honey, or to taste
1/2 cup raisins (my choice), or chopped dried fruit
1/4 cup vegetable oil
** you can also add 1/4-1/2 cup wheat germ
1. Preheat the oven to 350. Oil 1 large rimmed baking sheet (or 2 smaller ones).
2. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients, except raisins or dried fruit)
3. Pour out onto prepared sheet. I used one large sheet and the mixture was about 3/4 to 1 inch thick. Place in oven. Bake for about 25 minutes, stirring every 5-7 minutes. Mixture should brown evenly; the borer it gets without burning, the crunchier it will be.
4. Add raisins, or dried fruit and put back in oven for 3-5 minutes.
5. Remove pan from oven and cool on a rack, stirring once in a while. Transfer to an air-tight container. Some recipes store in fridge, others don’t. I’m going to try it in my cupboard. Fridge instructions say it will last “indefinitely”; cupboard for about 2 weeks.