Friday, May 13, 2016

Granola Fun

Homemade granola is not only fun to make but fun to eat. Of course , it can kick start the day but it's also good sprinkled on vanilla ice cream or made into bars.It can also be turned into clusters for healthy snacking too. It is versatile, going from breakfast to snack in no time.

Melissa Clark wrote about her recipe for it in Wednesday's New York Times Food section. It is a fancier recipe than the basic granola one. Hers is very flavorful thanks to the addition of  ginger and cardamon. Most start with cinnamon and brown sugar for taste and nuts and dried fruit for color and texture. Oats are the most important ingredient and  again  most recipes call for rolled oats ( never use instant)The liquids or binders are usually a mix of vegetable oil and honey. Ms Clark uses out of the box ones such as olive oil and coconut oil. Olive oil is a healthier choice and it's up to the home chef to use it instead of any other oil Some granola cereals have clusters which is a big selling point for a lot of cereal lovers who want crunch. Home chefs usually use egg whites which does bind but the result is a brittle sticky glob instead of a light crunchy nibble.To achieve this the oats and coconut are ground into a flour that becomes a paste when water is added. Ms. Clark wanted something more flavorful so she added coconut milk. which gives it a very mild sweetness. Almond milk can be subbed in too.

One good thing about homemade granola is that it can be customized to suit your family's tastes.Almonds can be added in or not. Chocolate chips can replace walnuts. Even Ms. Clark's recipe can be tweaked to suit many different tastes. Hers is loaded with seeds such as pumpkin and sunflower but one can be eliminated while the other is doubled. For a healthier spin try chia seeds which are high in calcium and manganese. Flax  seeds can be added too for a boost. These have a slightly nutty flavor that can add to the mix. Dried fruit is another granola must .It gives extra sweetness and more flavor.. Ms. Clark's recipe calls for coconut flakes but you can add anything from dried cherries to dried apricots to raisins to create a healthy , nutrient packed breakfast. Once you've mastered the basic recipe you can start on bars. Granola bars are fun and perfect for anything, from beach days to sports events.They're a cross between a cookie and granola, thanks to the addition of flour , baking soda and butter. The last can be replaced with vegan non dairy butter for a healthier bar. Semi sweet chocolate chips can be added along with nuts or sub in the chocolate with dried cherries or almonds.

Granola is a fun and healthy food to make. You can stick to the basic recipe or go wild and creative with seeds, nuts and dried fruit. The end result is a tasty treat that's good for you and tasty too.

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