Archive for: granola
Granola bars are one of my favorite grab-n-go snack foods. They’re easy to pack, store well and can give you a much needed energy boost when you’re out and about but aren’t ready for a full meal. Plus, they tend to be a little bit healthier than a jumbo chocolate chip cookie, which is also a favorite treat. Homemade granola bars are quite easy to make and definitely fit the bill for a tasty snack.
These Coconut Apricot Granola Bars with Walnuts have an ingredient list that is very similar to that of regular granola. They start with a dry mix of oatmeal, puffed rice, coconut and flaxseed. Oatmeal gives the granola bars a certain heartiness, while the puffed rice adds a crispy element and keeps the bars from feeling too dense. I like a crispy-chewy combination in a granola bar. Those ingredients are bound together with a simple syrup that adds a little sweetness to the mix, and helps to make the bars chewy. I added chopped, dried apricots and walnuts to the bars, which add another crispy-chewy combination to these bars. The bars are baked slightly to help bind them together a little more strongly and keep them from crumbling as you eat them. If you like a little extra crunch, you can bake the granola bars for a few extra minutes after cutting them into individual bars, too.
I used agave syrup when making these granola bars, which adds sweetness and helps all the ingredients bind together. Agave syrup can be found in most markets these days, but if you don’t have agave syrup, you can use corn syrup or even brown rice syrup in its place. Agave has a nice, neutral flavor that doesn’t overwhelm the coconut or other elements in the bars.
Granola is a food that usually stands on its own, as a snack or as a breakfast cereal, but it can be a great addition to other recipes because even a very basic granola has a lot of flavor. Granola is usually made up of oats, fruit, nuts and seeds that are lightly sweetened and baked until they’re crisp. Some variations include shredded coconut, crisp puffed rice or other grains, but all mixes can be very tasty. This Granola Quick Bread is an easy to make loaf that incorporates a lot of heart-healthy granola into a completely different – yet still very tasty – form.
I like big, chunky granola for snacking, but most granola is broken up into smaller pieces and that is what you’re going to want to use in this quick bread recipe because it is easier to incorporate. My granola included oats, coconut, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnut pieces, almond pieces, dried cranberries and raisins. The bread uses quite a lot of granola and it will get most of its flavor from there, but I also added more shredded coconut and some extra raisins to highlight the sweetness of these elements, which didn’t stand out in the plain granola.
The loaf bakes up to be a little but dense, yet tender, and very flavorful. The nuts and the nutty flavor of the toasted oats really come through, but the bread is a little bit sweeter than the plain granola thanks to the addition of brown sugar in the recipe. The loaf is good when it is sliced and served plain, and it is excellent when toasted and served with some butter or cream cheese. The bread keeps very well for several days when stored in an airtight container, too (the flavors meld a bit more), so it can be made in advance and enjoyed a slice at a time for several days.
- Olive oil can be great for baking, especially if you start with a complex, fruity extra virgin olive oil. Eating SF made some Maple Olive Oil Granola, lightly sweetened with maple syrup and flavored with olive oil, cinnamon and nutmeg. The olive oil will give the granola a slightly savory note, making this a great snacking granola, or one that can be paired with sweet summer fruit. As with all granolas, you can mix up the nuts in the base recipe, which in this case are pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and pistachio nuts.
- A homemade chocolate chip cookie is one of the best treats out there, but double, triple or quadruple its size and you have the perfect treat for a celebration. Take this Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe, for instance. The cookie is baked as one huge, round cookie right on a rectangular baking sheet – no special pan needed – and it comes out as big as a small pizza at about 9-inches across! The giant cookie can be sliced and served just like a pizza, and it can be festively decorated for any occasion just as the cookie “cakes” that you can find at some bakeries. Still, I think that a big glass of milk is all you really need.
- It is easy to see the appeal of making Mini Rhubarb Pies, like the The Arugula Files did with some fresh rhubarb just recently. They take less time to bake than full-sized pies, and are easier to put together. The filling is placed in a small ramekin and the crust is draped on top of the filling. Since the crust only covers the top part of these pies, a novice pie baker can turn out a fantastic dessert without worrying about how the crust might turn out, and a experienced baker can enjoy the simplicity of the recipe and wait for pie to come out of the oven!
- Though they look pretty, it is hard to really enjoy a towering banana cream pie when each slice is so heavy you fill up after only a few bites. You won’t have that problem with Slow Like Honey‘s Banana Cream Tart. This tart packs all the flavor of a big banana cream pie, but in a much more compact form. My favorite thing about it is that there is fresh banana incorporated into the whipped cream topping, as well as into the filling, giving each slice a lot of banana flavor and a lightness that you won’t find in a more traditional pie.
- I’ve had plain popovers and herbed popovers, but Soup Belly‘s Cheesy Popovers are just a little more flavorful than your average popover and make the perfect complement to a savory dinner. This batch uses cheddar cheese and herbs, including chives, sage, thyme and basil. This is a good mix, but the best thing about this recipe is that you can customize it to suit any dinner. For instance, you can use any kind of cheese you like and change the herbs to a more Italian mix to complement a pasta dinner and a spicier mix, perhaps with chipotle peppers, to match a spicy chili dish.
Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies are great because they deliver all the chocolate and all the buttery flavor of a regular chocolate chip cookie, with a little bit more texture and a delicious oaty, nutty flavor on top. When you toast nuts, you bring out their nuttiness even more, and this same thing works on oats. So, I added some toasted, sweetened granola right into this batch of cookies where I might have otherwise just used oatmeal. I got cookies that delivered even more flavor than before.
The cookies are thick and seem hearty, because of the granola. They are slightly chewy and crisp on the outside. You can definitely taste the flavors from the granola, whether yours is sweetened with maple syrup, honey or sugar, in the cookies, too.
I just used a plain granola (Cascadian Farms Organic Oats and Honey, to be specific), without any added nuts or dried fruits, so that I could really find the granola flavor in the finished cookies. I added in chocolate chips and chopped, toasted pecans separately. You can use just about any type of granola you like in these, whether it has nuts or dried fruits already added. The only thing you need to do to prep your granola is to chop it into small pieces – chocolate chip or almond sized clusters – before mixing it in so that you get an even distribution of granola throughout the cookies.
I really like having a batch of granola around the house for snacking, and topping off yogurts and ice cream. I almost always use my recipe for Mix-n-Match Applesauce Granola. As the name suggests, it’s a versatile recipe that you can use many different kinds of flavors in, changing the nuts, fruits and the spices to suit your mood and tastebuds every time you make a batch. Another reason I like it is that there is no added fat in the granola itself; it uses applesauce to create clumps of oats and the resulting granola still manages to be crunchy. This means that I can load up on nuts and other goodies but keep the granola s a relatively healthy snack.
For this batch, I made Coconut Almond Granola. The basic elements are all still there – oats, puffed rice cereal (for lightness), brown sugar, applesauce and maple syrup – and I added in lots of sweetened shredded coconut and some almonds. The granola is baked at a low temperature, so the the coconut and the almonds don’t toast up faster than the rest of the granola and can be put into the oven with the rest of the batch. While you can simply add nuts in at the end if you already have toasted almonds around the kitchen (toasting them twice might lead to burning), too, it’s just a little bit nicer to be able to mix them in with the granola base, so there will be both coconut and almonds in all of the crunchy clusters of oats.
I didn’t mix in any dried fruit with this batch of granola, but you could certainly add dried cranberries to the mixture after it has completely cooled. I also think that chocolate chips might be a good addition if you’re thinking about going a little more decadent with the whole thing. Otherwise, just enjoy the crisp, coconutty goodness by the handful – which is what I did.