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Time for another visit to Bob's Kitchen. I think we're overdue for another food post, don't you?
Being the hippie earth muffin type that I am, I'm sure you can all understand that I naturally eat plenty of granola.
Ya don't think I buy the stuff in the store, do you? Of course not. It's very easy and fun to make yourself.
Note that this is a high calorie energy dense type of granola particularly suited to backpacking. It makes a good hot or cold cereal, or is great just eaten as a snack. For a hot breakfast on the trail, bag up a cup ( or more ) of this stuff and a dash of milk powder in a baggie. On the trail, add hot water. Hint - Don't add chocolate if yer gonna use it as a hot cereal, that makes a mess. Once my wife saw me making this stuff she will not eat it at home, something about all the calories I guess! But when backpacking, calories is just what we want.
We start with the oats. You must use "regular rolled oats" for this, NOT INSTANT OATS! If you try instant or quick cooking oats of any kind you will wind up with mush instead of cereal, so don't go there! I use Bob's Red Mill Organic Regular Rolled Oats. I buy this stuff in bulk and go through about 50 pounds a year. The cost is quite reasonable when purchased in bulk, but for less coin you can get Regular Rolled Oats ( not organic ), and munch away happily having saved a few bucks and content with the knowledge that the FDA has thoroughly investigated and personally approved all the pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, fertilizers and other chemicals that your food is drenched in. After all, we all trust the Government with out health and lives, right?
Anyway, back to the recipe. You'll need -
One cup oil, or somewhat less. Any kind will work, and it can effect the taste of the finished product. Experiment to find what you like. I prefer olive oil.
Six cups oats.
One cup whole wheat flour. You can use white flour if you want to. I've been meaning to try rye flour but haven't gotten around to it yet.
1/2 cup sugar. You may use brown sugar if you wish.
1/2 cup honey or real maple syrup if you can afford it. You could use ordinary pancake syrup but I prefer not to because I try to stay away from high fructose corn syrup.
Optional - Any kind of dried fruit and/or nuts you like and happen to have handy
Spices - I find most brands of store bought stuff has to much cinnamon. This is because Cinnamon is cheap. I prefer the following mix -
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon Ginger
1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
Pinch of Salt.
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
All the ingredients of my last batch assembled ( except for the vanilla! )
I'm including about 1/2 cup of chopped coconut, a handful of raisins and a handful of craisins in this batch.
The cooking gear you'll need is a large heavy frying pan to cook the stuff in, a large bowl or other container to cool it off in, a spatula and something to store the finished product in.
So lets get cooking!
You'll need all the ingredients ready to hand before you start because once you get going you can't stop to measure ingredients or the oats will burn.
Heat the oil in the frypan.
Mix the oats and the flour together, and when the oil in the pan is hot, ( not smoking though ) toss the oats in.
Use that spatula, and keep the oats moving! You don't want to burn them because burned oats sure don't taste good.
I usually heat the oil with my gas stove turned up high, and when the oats go in I turn the stove down to a medium heat.
Note that we're not trying to deep fry the oats. We need enough oil so the oats are damp and will cook a little, and get coated with the other ingredients.
In a short time the oil is absorbed and all the oat flakes are coated in flour. Stirring and flipping constantly keeps them from clumping.
Next add the sugar, and mix that in.
Next, add the syrup or honey. Stir well to keep it from clumping! Try not to throw to much all over the stove.
Now sprinkle in the spices and vanilla, mix that in well, and add the fruit last.
Cook and stir until everything is blended nicely. It doesn't take long
Now we need to cool it off. Pour it all at once into a big bowl. Keep stirring and flipping with the spatula!
You need to stir while the mix cools down, or it will clump.
I often take the bowl and wander out onto the porch to sit in a rocking chair, admire the forest around me and stir the mix. Of course I might eat half a cup of the stuff while it's cooling.
Just sampling the mix, don't you know! Quality control and all that. You could turn off the heat and leave it in the fry pan but it takes a long time for my heavy cast iron pan to cool.
If you like chocolate or carob chips in your granola, this is when you add it, while the mix is still warm but not hot enough to melt the chips completely and turn everything into clumps. If I'm gonna use the batch as Gorp on a backpacking trip I'll add chocolate or carob. For breakfast cereal I tend to leave it out as it can be to sweet for me.
Finished product showing texture -
When cool ( and you've eaten your fill for now ) transfer the mix to a suitable storage container.
I typically eat this stuff with cold goats milk, but it can be added to a bit of boiling water and cooked like any oat meal. It makes a good hot cereal but I like hot oatmeal with just some raisins, maybe some dried apples, and a dash of goat milk. I like my granola a bit sweeter. This stuff is better than any store bought granola I have ever tried.