It’s been a while, but it’s my pleasure to re-introduce my favorite guest blogger, who made a few past appearances in the Bewitching (remember guacamole?). My beloved husband, who at age 21 was almost as handsome as he is today, shares with you his recipe for the best granola ever! It pains me to admit it comes from a former girlfriend, but chances are I bake a better bread, and play a much meaner round of golf. So, there!
We spent part of our winter holiday in Sedona, AZ, where we enjoyed one of the local stores, the New Frontiers Natural Marketplace. Still, I nearly choked on the price of some of their whole grain cereals: $13 or more for a pound of granola. It convinced me to get off my ass and make my own granola, so here’s my recipe from the golden age of peace and love: 1973.
We lived in a big Green House on Capitol Avenue in Lansing, MI, and this recipe became a staple of our diet. It’s where me and Dave (together in the picture), Jimmy, Al and Joey spent a few years, chasing girls, cooking for each other, and listening to great music on Dave’s JBL speakers. I was 21 and dating Susie, who made the best granola anywhere, from Ann Arbor to Bloomington to Madison.
For us it was a golden age, of optimism, exploration, righteousness, liberation and natural foods. When you put together the ingredients for this recipe you’ll understand (and embrace) the meaning of “grain brain.” Nothing’s better than this kind of natural food. Once you make it and have a morning bowlful, you may never return to the preposterous prices of commercial granola. The cost of this recipe has at least tripled in the nearly 4 decades I’ve made it, from about $10-12 to near $40 per batch, but it makes about 15 pounds, bringing the cost to a more realistic $2.50 per pound. Cost aside, the granola’s flavor is unforgettably nutty and hearty, and the beauty of the recipe is its flexibility: you can change it in whatever way you want to customize the cereal. Want a gluten-free version? Then skip the wheat germ and use oat bran instead. Don’t care for walnuts? Use pecans instead. Allergic to peanuts? Substitute sunflower oil for the peanut oil. I usually add raisins and chopped dates, which are excellent, to the baked granola, but in this batch I added dried cranberries and banana chips for a change of pace. Or leave out the banana chips and eat a bowl with fresh banana slices. Mmmmm, that’s good!
Now, this is not a low-fat granola. It’s a natural, whole-grain mix that gives you a mouthful of rich flavors in every bite. To control the calories, just eat less (which you may find difficult!).
GOLDEN AGE GRANOLA
1. Mix the dry ingredients in a large (huge) pan or bowl:
3 pounds rolled oats
1 pound raw wheat germ
1 pound chopped walnuts
1 pound other chopped nuts (hazelnuts, pecans, cashews, almonds or a mixture)
1 raw, chopped coconut (water drained and reserved)
1 pound sunflower seeds
1 pound pepitas
1 pound brown sugar
2. Mix the wet ingredients in a large (½ gallon) container:
water from the coconut
2 cups hot water
1 cup peanut oil
1 cup sesame oil
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup agave nectar
1/3 cup molasses
1/3 cup maple syrup (or, use whichever of these sugars you prefer in the proportion you desire)
2 T vanilla
Heat the oven to 325 F. Mix the dry ingredients very well in a large roasting pan or a huge bowl. Whip the wet ingredients with a whisk or fork and pour half of it over the dry ingredients. Mix well and then pour the remainder of the wet ingredients over the batch. Mix very well with a large spoon, making certain that all the materials become uniformly moistened. Spread the cereal on cookie sheets, about 3/4 in thick, and bake for 45 – 60 min, turning with a spatula every 15 min. Let the granola cool, combine the baked batches and add some dried fruits: raisins, dates, apricots, cranberries, blueberries or banana chips … your choice, about 1.5 pounds. Store the cereal in a large, airtight tin or vac-pack it in 1-2# pound portions.
to print the recipe, click here
Some photos of the process (click on the pictures to enlarge)…
Mixing the dry ingredients…
Draining and chopping the coconut…
Chopping the nuts…
Mixing dry and wet ingredients…
Baking, turning, and cooling… the final stretch!
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