Tag Archives: oats

So Granola

I failed to post in 2014. I cooked and baked a lot of things, but I didn’t always get (or remember to get) great pictures. I resolve to do better in 2015 and what better way to prove it than a recipe for homemade granola! Right? Right.IMG_0223

Brent is on a yogurt kick and did not like the fancy, organic, $10 million dollar granola I got him so I decided to make my own.

This was my first time making granola, so I’m the worst hippie ever. I decided to go with a very slightly adapted America’s Test Kitchen recipe because they obsessively test recipes and I trust them. Bonus: this was a no stir recipe. Not a bonus: they don’t publish their recipes without a subscription so I watched a video of the recipe 10 times. Pro tip: write the recipe down as you hear it on the video, like so:

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But, let me make this easier for you.

Homemade Granola
serves 9+  //  recipe adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

Ingredients
5 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup pure maple syrup (the real stuff!)
4 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 or 1 cup almonds, chopped
1 cup walnuts, chopped

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 325°.

2. Measure out 5 cups of oats. Chop nuts to desired size (I used a food processor to make this easier.) Add to the bowl of oats. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, mix oil, brown sugar, maple syrup, vanilla and salt together.

4. Add oats and chopped nuts to the oil/sugar/etc. mixture and stir well to coat.

5. Line a large pan with parchment paper, dump the granola out.

6. Using a spoon or a potato masher, smash down the granola on the pan as much as possible. This will help to create big chunks!

7. Bake at 325 for 40 minutes (it can go to 45 minutes depending on your oven). Rotate the pan once at the 20 minute mark. Take the granola out when it looks brown around the edges and on the top, not too brown!

8. Let the granola cool for an hour on the pan. Then, break it into whatever size chunks you want.

This stuff was tasty. And inexpensive to make. You can use whatever nuts you like and the original recipe also called for adding in raisins or other dried fruit after the granola cooled. Brent is a raisin hater, so I respected his hatred and left this plain. I did try a tiny bowl with some raisins, and it was delicious.

Store for up to two weeks, you hippie.

Monster Cookies

My work is in the midst of United Way week, where we come up with creative ways to donate money to the organization. Every year we have a bake sale and I decided to bake something to donate since I’m obviously in a baking mood.

I discovered monster cookies in college when my friend Liz’s grandparents mailed some to her dorm. I had never heard of such a thing: oatmeal, peanut butter, M&Ms, chocolate chips… why was I deprived so long!? And why did I wait nine years to recreate these?! Fool. Monster cookies sound like a Halloween treat, so it was time to make them.

Ingredients
(makes 22-24 cookies, adapted from Paula Deen)
3 eggs
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 12-ounce jar creamy peanut butter
1 stick margerine (or butter), softened
1 cup M&Ms
3/4 cup chocolate chips
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 1/2 cups quick-cooking oatmeal (not instant)
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup rolled oats (it’s ok if you don’t have these–it’s just for texture)

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats.

2. In a very large mixing bowl, combine the eggs and white sugar and brown sugar. Mix well with a mixer.

3. Add the salt, vanilla, peanut butter, and butter or margarine. Mix well with the mixer.

4. Stir in the chocolate candies, chocolate chips, (you can use 1/4c raisins too if you want) baking soda, flour and oatmeal. Mix by hand and try not to over mix.

5. Use an ice-cream scoop and drop by tablespoons 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets. Seriously:  use parchment paper. If you don’t have multiple cookie sheets, store the dough in the fridge while the cookies bake.

6. Bake for 17-20 minutes. Do not overbake. Let stand for about 3 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool. When cool, store in large tupperware or resealable plastic bags.

I searched all over the internet for a good recipe, and I read tons of reviews on multiple recipes and found that the Paula Deen recipe was “the best” if you modified it slightly; added a little flour, reduced the sugar, omitted raisins, made the cookies large rather than small so they wouldn’t get hard and flat. I modified the recipe even more and added extra vanilla, upped the amount of M&Ms and stuck in some rolled oats for texture.

These cookies were great; lots of peanut butter flavor, chocolaty without being overboard and chewy delicious.