Friday, January 5, 2007

Big, Chunky Granola

For years, I looked for the granola of my dreams. I wanted something crunchy that featured big, substantial chunks of goodness. I'd tried many granola recipes and none were quite what I wanted. Until...

About a year ago, I spoke at a ladies' brunch and one of the buffet items was a delicious granola that perfectly fit the bill. After I found out who the creator was, I nagged her for months until I finally got the recipe out of her.

I've modified it some, and I encourage you to modify it some more. Remember that granola is a perishable food, especially since this one is filled with so much wholesome yumminess, so it must be consumed within a week of making it. To always be ready for another batch, I fill baggies full of the dry mix and pop them in the freezer (to keep the mealy bugs away). Then I just have to mix the wet ingredients and bake.

The time-consuming part of this recipe is the baking. It takes 25 minutes at a higher temperature, 25 at a lower, and then an hour with the oven off.

About the ingredients:

Nuts: generally I add whole sliced or slivered, raw almonds, which can be purchased at large warehouse stores, like Sam's Club or through your local food cooperative. You can also add pecans, walnuts, peanuts, or no nuts at all. Experiment! Have fun!

Sweetener: You can reduce the amount of brown sugar and add real maple syrup in its place. You can also use sugar instead of honey, if that's what floats your boat. You can reduce or increase the sweetener to your taste as well.

Oil: I use canola or peanut oil which gives you a chunkier granola. You can also use melted butter. The butter tends to make the granola crumbly, not chunky.

Add-ins: My friend Linda, who partially inspired this blog, is also crazy about this granola, but she has her own variations. Linda suggests replacing the oil with peanut butter and adding 1/4 to a 1/2 cup of chocolate syrup.

One key to making it chunkier is to add a bit more liquid (milk or water) and let the mix set for about 15 minutes before baking it. Not necessary at all, but if you're making several batches, you can do this as you're waiting for the previous batch to come out of the oven.

The Best Granola Ever

3.5 cups rolled oats
3.5 cups quick oats
2 cups of coconut, large unsweetened flakes
1 1/2 to 2 cups nuts, either whole, chopped or slivered (optional)
1/2 cup of ground flax seed (optional)
1 cup of wheat germ (optional)

Mix all of the above in a very large bowl.

Then, in a large microwavable bowl or in a saucepan, mix:

1 cup of canola oil or (2 sticks) melted butter (butter will not give you chunky granola)
*1/3 to 1/2 cup honey (I usually eliminate this or use the lesser amount. All of it makes it too sweet for me)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup real maple syrup
*Optional: add a 1/4 cup raw wheat germ and a 1/4 cup ground golden flax seed

Heat second mixture in microwave for about 40 seconds or heat on stovetop until smooth and warmed-through, and stir.
Pour liquid mixture over the dry ingredients and stir with a big spoon until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed and wet.
Bake in 2 9 x 13" pans or one very large cookie sheet, ungreased.
Bake for 25 minutes at 325
Stir and switch pan positions.
Bake another 15 minutes at 225.
At this time, you could add a cup of dried fruit, such as cherries, craisins, raisins, or whatever.
Stir and switch pan positions.
Bake another 10 minutes at 225.
Turn off oven and leave granola in for one hour.
Take it out, cool, break into desired sized chunks, and store in an airtight container. Because it contains no preservatives, it won't keep for long, but then again, you probably won't let it!

13 comments:

impromptu-mom said...

Yum!

Thicket Dweller said...

You will never know truly how "yum" until you make it! Start with the canola oil. It really does make it chunkier and not as crumbly.

Emily said...

Mine is in the oven and it smells awesome! I'm excited.

fj40 said...

I've never been a granola person. My husband wanted a chunky one. This was the first recipe I tried and he keeps making comments on how it's the best he's ever had! I finally tried it and he's right, I've been having a bowl for snack too. Thanks for sharing!

numblove said...

I'm making mine in the oven right now. It smells amazing and i snuck a taste of it warm. I added a bunch of different nuts, seeds and craisins. I added: chopped walnuts, slivered almonds, halved hazel nuts, chopped brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, poppy seeds, sesame seeds. I nixed the coconut. Also I added a little bit of flax oil and instead of honey I used agave nectar, and instead of cows milk i used almond milk. It's completely vegan. The I added a bunch of nuts & seeds for the nutritional value and protein. As vegans (I am because of food allergies to just about everything YAY) use nuts, seeds and beans as a primary source of protein. I have a mild soy allergy so I limit my consumption of soy products. I hope it comes out nice and chunky. I'll post an update when it's 100% finished.

Thicket Dweller said...

I'm making a batch of this granola today, and I'm going to try increasing the milk a bit to see if it will come out chunkier. I'm always so pleased when someone loves this granola! I've been asked to make it for our Easter service at church, so I'm going to be putting together some big batches today for that, ourselves, and a kind family who has been shuttling my son to tennis. I love how delicious it makes the house smell!

Amber said...

The recipe says 1/2 Milk. Is this 1/2 cup?

Do you pack down after stirring? Mine wasn't very chunky but I wondered if there was something else you did to make it that way. The picture looks like a granola bar broken up - very chunky!

NaomiG said...

Searched google for chunky granola today, and your blog came up first. My husband has requested chunky granola, because apparently my not chunky granola is gross, haha! I was wondering if you have ever made this and frozen it that way? When I make mine, I make a huge batch and then store it in the freezer, and I only make it every three months or so. Thanks for the recipe, I am excited to try it!

edarlingt said...

Did anyone else's not harden?? Help! Thanks : )

I Heart Monster said...

It's funny - one of my pans hardened and one didn't. I think I'll put it back in the oven for another 20 minutes or so... it might just need that to get the moisture out. But the pan that did harden. Oh. Em. Gee. Delicioso!

Josh/Leah said...

Mine did not turn out chunky :( I'm sooo disappointed! The only things I didn't add were the maple syrup and honey...I even used oil instead of butter, added the extra liquid and let it sit for 15 min. I'm so bummed! Help!

denice said...

Sorry to leave you hanging, folks! I've moved to www.denicehazlett.com, so I don't check this very often, but I'll try to do better from now on.

As far as pans not hardening, just pop it back in longer, because your oven is different tips, and you might have more in one pan than the other. Don't pack your pan too full or it will take longer.

Josh/Leah, you have to add the sweeteners. They're one of the main binding agents.

Yes, Amber, it's a 1/2 cup of milk. To make sure it's chunky, use the oil, don't leave out the sweetener, and if it seems kind of dry, add a bit of milk and let it sit a few minutes. It could be that your dry ingredients were super dry. If you add any more dry ingredients, you have to increase the liquids and sweeteners proportionately.

I Heart Monster, so glad you liked it!

Come join me at denicehazlett.com for the most recent recipes and other fun stuff. :-)

denice said...

Oh, and numblove, I'd be interested to know how your version turned out.