Tuesday, December 8, 2009

My Masterpiece--Granola

Of all the multi-layer cakes and multi-course meals I've made over the years of my culinary obsession, I am most proud of my granola. Now, I don't mean to brag, but I have never met a single person who hasn't told me that my granola is hands down the world's greatest granola. But that is not saying nearly enough. People who don't like granola, who are far too manly to ever profess a taste for something that is too often associated with vegan tree-huggers (hi Dad), wax poetically about this granola and sneak down into the kitchen at night not for cookies or ice cream, but my granola. My kitchen-phobe little brothers, who spend only enough time in this room to eat without lingering for fear of being put to work, find reasons to mill about as soon as the sweet spiced scent of baking granola reaches their room. This granola has been shipped all over the country and the world to feed dedicated fans. If I could only eat one thing for the rest of my life, it would be this granola. And now I am sharing my secret (non)recipe with you.

The (non)recipe
I apologize for not having exact ratios or measurements, these will depend not only on how much granola you are making, but also certain taste preferences. Also, I just don't ever write it down myself.

1. Cook over medium heat equal parts maple syrup and peanut butter (use nuttela if you're feeling extra sweet!). The amounts here will range from 1/2-2 cups depending on the amount of oats and how (sinfully) sweet you want the final product to be.
2. When the nut butter is completely melted remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
3. Whisk in about 2-3 egg whites for a "normal" sized batch (anywhere from 3-5 cups of oats)
4. Whisk in you're desired amounts of allspice, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Again, personal preference will determine the amounts.
5. Pour over a mixture of oats (3-5 cups) and any nuts you want to use - I've always used pecans. The mixture you make should be enough to coat the oats and nuts completely with out having any extra liquid at the bottom of the bowl.
6. Spread mixture out on a greased baking sheet.
7. Bake in 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes, flipping the granola about 15 minutes in (pull the sheet out of the oven and do your best to roughly turn over all the major chunks).
8. After half an hour, add an assortment of dried fruit and bake for about 10 more minutes.
9. Let cool and enjoy!

There are variations on this granola - mixing up the nuts, fruit, spices or even sweetening base. However, this version is my favorite.

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