A Tale of Two Granolas

So in betwixt and between this crazy, unpredictable, totally off-the-wall weather we’ve been experiencing lately, I have found myself doing an incredible amount of productive work on my computer for the blog, the cookbook, and of course, taxes. A necessary evil..… Seriously, the climate is not conducive to scurrying about town, so I’ve been keeping close to home and only venturing out when absolutely necessary. Which really means, I’m ferrying the posse to and from school, making stops at the market and dry cleaners, and mail runs at the ranch once a week. Aaaaaaaand I just received an email from the school that classes are cancelled tomorrow due to the weather. Again. In my continuing effort to keep warm (aside from cranking up the heat, which just dries my skin out), I have been baking quite a bit. Yesterday, I had this idea to make two separate recipes of granola to see which one we liked better. Because really, why make one when you can make two? IMG_9662 To keep the comparison fair and unbiased, I made both recipes the same way, omitting the nuts, coconut and dried fruits. The verdict? While both were very good, I preferred the brown sugar version from Anna’s site. It tasted a bit lighter to me, and interesting enough, Sabrina agreed. Of course, our testing was completely unscientific and your results may vary. Just like the gas mileage on your car…..

Brown Sugar Granola – adapted from Cookie Madness

  • 3 ½ cups oats
  • 2 tbs. flaxseeds
  • 2 tbs. chia seeds
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg white

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Line a 12×17 inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine the oats, flax, chia seeds and cinnamon. Put the brown sugar and water in a large microwave-safe measuring cup and heat on high just until it begins to boil, about a minute. Stir to dissolve the sugar, then stir in the vanilla. Pour the mixture over the oats and stir until well blended. Whisk the egg white until frothy, then mix it through the oats. Empty the mixture onto the baking sheet and gently spread it out. Bake for 45 minutes, checking after 20 minutes or so to make sure granola is cooking slowly and edges aren’t burning. During the 20 minute check, use a spatula or scraper to lift and push the granola. In other words, spread it out a little, but leave it in big chunks. Check granola at 45 minutes and if it appears to have browned somewhat, go ahead and take it out. If not, leave it in for another 10-15 minutes. Granola will not be crunchy until it is completely cool, so let it cool on the baking sheet.

Maple Granola – adapted from Serious Eats

  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup (next time I would use less) 
  • 2 tbs. olive oil
  • 3 tbs. chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup flaxseed
  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Combine all ingredients but the egg white in a large bowl, tossing to coat evenly. Whisk the egg white in a small bowl until frothy. Stir into the granola mixture, distributing it throughout. Spread it in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake for 45 minutes. About halfway through the baking time, use a large spatula to turn over sections of the granola carefully, breaking them up as little as possible. Rotate the pan to prevent the granola from baking unevenly. When it is evenly browned and feels dry to the touch, transfer the pan from the oven to the cooling rack. Cool completely. Once it’s completely cool, break up the granola into large chunks and store in an airtight container.

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