Monday, September 27, 2010

Killer Granola

The Best Homemade Granola Ever

Are there any granola recipe contests going on out there? Because if so, I want to enter this one. To be fair though, I'd have to give most of the credit to Jeff Jackson at A.R. Valentien, since this is pretty heavily based on his recipe for "Jackson Granola" served at the Lodge at Torrey Pines (I hear they do a mean breakfast, and I wouldn't doubt it.) It's also similar to Alice Waters' Cafe Fanny granola in that it has the sesame seeds, which, as far as I can tell, are otherwise kind of an unusual ingredient in granola.

Chef Jackson's recipe is by weight, which is kind of fun because all you have to do is put a bowl on a scale and keep adding the ingredients, zeroing it out every time - but I always have a hard time measuring the olive oil and honey, since the scale can't keep up as it pours in. More than once I've had to add more dry ingredients to soak up the excess liquid - which isn't really a problem, just a little inconvenient. After a couple of experimental batches that were good but not quite perfect, I came up with this recipe with all of the ingredients measured by volume. I absolutely cannot stop eating the results, which must mean we have a winner. Here it's ready for the oven...

I don't believe in adding any cinnamon or other seasonings - it doesn't even have salt. It gets all the flavor it needs from the sesame seeds, nuts, coconut and honey. If you can't find unsweetened coconut, don't substitute the regular variety - it will be too sweet. I really like the Bob's Red Mill brand - it's wide and thin and bakes up nice and crisp.

This is a great "whole food" snack or breakfast - very nutritious and a great source of energy if you're planning on running a marathon, or say, if you're a growing teenager, but it's not diet food, that's for sure. I like to eat it for breakfast sprinkled over some Siggi's Passionfruit Pomegranate Skyr yogurt. Luckily, a little goes a long way!

Killer Granola
Inspired by Jeff Jackson's "Jackson Granola" for A.R. Valentien at the Torrey Pines Lodge

5 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup oat bran
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1 cup whole or slivered raw almonds
1 cup raw unsalted pepitas
1 cup flaked unsweetened coconut (such as Bob's Red Mill)
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup brown sugar

2/3 cup honey
1/2 cup olive oil

1 cup dried currants or raisins*

Set the oven to 225 degrees

Stir together the dry ingredients, up to the honey and olive oil. Pour the honey and olive oil over the mixture and combine with your hands (rub a little olive oil on them to prevent sticking) or a wooden spoon until the honey and olive oil are evenly distributed. (If you like a lot of clumps, add a little more honey and olive oil, proportionately.)

Spread evenly over two half sheet pans. Bake at 225 degrees for 90 minutes. Stir the mixture on the pans and sprinkle them evenly with currants/raisins. Bake for an additional 30 mins. (You don't want it to brown very much - if it looks like it's starting to, take it out.) Granola will crisp as it cools. Cool completely on the pans and store in an airtight container.

*You can also add the dried fruit after it's baked, and you can add other dried fruits like apricot, pineapple, etc. if you want - I just like the way the currants get a little chewy after baking.)

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