Friday, February 12, 2010

Nut Butter Granola

I'm so excited to pick up my giant bag of oats tomorrow so that I can do some baking with my kids this weekend! Here is a recipe we tried recently and adapted to suit our tastes. (I can't remember where on the internet we found the original recipe. Let me know if you spot it!) We were baking something else in our oven when we made it, so we put all the granola in one baking sheet. Our results were chewy and stuck together quite well -- something like those granola recipes that call for an egg white. Because we baked it in one thick layer, we scored a few granola bars when the pan was just out of the oven, and left the rest for granola. If you're trying for granola bars instead of granola, you may want to skip the step of toasting the nuts and just stir some chopped nuts directly into your oat mixture before it goes in the oven.

I wanted to take a photo of this to post here, but it was gobbled up very quickly by my granola-loving family. This took only 20 minutes or so to prepare, and it was easy for my children to participate in the process.

1/2 - 1 cup nuts
4 tablespoons butter or coconut oil (optional)
2/3 cup nut butter
1/3 - 1/2 cup honey or maple syrup
big glug of vanilla
salt to taste (optional)
6 cups rolled oats (or rolled barley, rye, etc.)
good handful of flax or other seeds
dried fruit, if desired (we added some precious home-grown and dried strawberries to delicious effect)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Toast nuts on a cookie sheet until lightly browned and pleasant-smelling. Spread them out to cool on a large cutting board and turn the heat up to 375.

While the nuts are toasting, melt the butter or coconut oil over medium-low heat in a 3 quart (or larger) saucepan. Add the nut butter, sweetener, vanilla, and salt to the pan and give everything a good stir. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the ingredients are well-combined.

Add the oats and seeds to your saucepan and stir well to combine. Spread the mixture out on one parchment-lined cookie sheet for granola bars, or two for standard granola. Bake for 10 - 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Chop the toasted and cooled nuts, then set aside.

If making granola bars, score the granola mixture into sections with a butter knife while still warm. Or set the granola aside to cool completely, then break into chunks, combine with dried fruit and toasted nuts, and seal in a large jar.

We love this with yogurt and applesauce or chopped apples. Yum!

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