Monday, February 20, 2012
gwyneth's favorite granola
What is there to say except I really love homemade granola?
My mom is an elementary school teacher (shout out to public school teachers) and at holiday time it was always fun to see her "teacher presents" from students. One year she brought home a fabulous little tub of homemade granola. I was completely amazed by its nutty sweet crunch. When I asked my mom who made it, she named the source and described her as being an amazing cook. This planted in my childhood mind the idea that if I could someday make my own granola, I too would be a very skilled cook. Thus, I have pursued elusive homemade granola perfection.
Fast forward 25 years and I have made some bummer batches of granola. Oddly enough, they regularly turn out oily (how does oatmeal turn out oily?!) When I came across the recipe for granola in Gwyneth Paltrow's cookbook "My Father's Daughter", I was jazzed. I connect with her food style: fresh flavors, mainly vegetable driven, classic food. I love her stories of food memories with her family. I too connect with my father through shared meals and time spent together in the kitchen. (If you are not already, may I suggest signing up for her weekly newsletter, Goop? It is filled with lovely inspiration and a highlight to my Thursday mornings.) Her recipe includes brilliant nutty combination of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and almonds. I also really love that the sweetness is from maple syrup and agave nectar.
I had never told my husband the story of my granola achievement goals but when I made him this granola, he gobbled up bowl for dessert and proclaimed "You really are a domestic goddess- you can make your own granola!" I wanted to marry him all over again.
Gwyneth Paltrow's favorite granola
2 cups whole rolled oats (not instant and not steel-cut)
1/2 cup raw, whole almonds (in the Hibbard house we cut this back to 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 teaspoon garam masala (I currently do not have any in the house and substitute 1/4 tsp cardamom)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 cup real vermont maple syrup
3 tablespoons light agave nectar or brown rice syrup
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped (I leave this out altogether)
1) Preheat the oven to 350. Stir together the oats, almonds, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, spices and salt in a large bowl.
2) Combine the maple syrup, agave, and vegetable oil in a small bowl and then mix with the dry ingredients.
3) Spread the granola out on a nonstick sheet pan or a regular sheet pan covered with parchment paper and coated with a little vegetable oil.
4) Bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until evenly browned. If you like your granola in clumps, remove the pan from the oven and push the granola so it's about 1/3-inch thick, letting it cool completely and then breaking it apart into small pieces. If you like your granola loose, simply spread it out in the pan and let it cool. Either way, combine the cooled granola with the cranberries. It keeps well for 2-3 months in an airtight container. (A batch could never last that long in our house. We like it as a breakfast topping for greek yogurt on busy weekdays and with milk for dessert on quiet evenings.)