Trouble With Toast

Recipe: Homemade Granola | February 13, 2009

Just like it’s theoretically possible (but not always cost-effective or practical) to eat 100% local, it’s also theoretically possible to make nearly every food item from scratch.  I personally know people who make their own bread, cheese, pasta, you name it.  Of course, while homemade almost always tastes better and is usually cheaper than store-bought, the convenience factor is hard to ignore.  I know full well that a home-roasted chicken is yummier and more economical than a rotisserie bird from my local megamart, but after a long day at the office and a tough workout, the last thing I want to do is wait multiple hours for dinner to be ready.  Ah, the modern dilemma.

I think that’s why this Bon Appetit recipe made me so very happy.  It uses common, inexpensive ingredients* and doesn’t require any specialized cooking skills.  It made my kitchen smell incredible.  It can be made up to a week in advance.  It doesn’t contain any preservatives or chemicals or weirdo industrial components.  And it really wasn’t much harder than driving to the grocery store and buying a box of granola.

Most importantly, this granola tasted awesome.  It was sweet without being cloying, which was a nice change from sugary store-bought versions.  It had great crunch, with a little chewy fruity goodness every so often from the dates.  You could certainly use raisins or dried cranberries if you prefer, and you could change things up in the nut department as well (I think next time I’ll use pecans).  I enjoy my granola for breakfast with nonfat vanilla yogurt, but it’s also great on its own as a snack.

Enjoy!  I know I’ll never buy pre-made granola again.

  • 4 tablespoons walnut oil, divided
  • 3/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 3 cups organic old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup walnut halves, broken in half
  • 1/2 cup flaxseed meal
  • 1 cup pitted dates, coarsely chopped or torn into pieces
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush heavy large rimmed baking sheet with 2 tablespoons oil. Whisk 2 tablespoons oil, sugar, egg whites, and salt in large bowl. Add oats, walnuts, and flaxseed; toss well.

    Spread mixture evenly on prepared sheet. Bake 15 minutes. Using metal spatula, stir granola. Bake 15 minutes longer. Stir again. Sprinkle dates over; drizzle with honey. Bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes longer. Stir to loosen. Transfer to clean baking sheet to cool completely. Keep chilled in airtight container.

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    12 Comments »

    1. I really want to try this with peanut butter, but I do love it has dates.

      Comment by Lemmonex — February 13, 2009 @ 2:54 pm

    2. Mine will definately have raisins!!!!!!

      Comment by Mom — February 13, 2009 @ 5:41 pm

    3. Waiting multiple hours for roasted chicken? You’re doing it wrong. For a normal-sized chicken it takes sbout 1 hour, including trussing and making gravy (which isn’t even necessary). You could even get in a quick home workout while it’s in the oven.

      Who do you know that makes cheese? That’s awesome. I want to start doing that, but it requires various specialty ingredients–bacteria and the like.

      I’ve made bread, and various charcuterie, but it’s rarely better than what you can buy. Nevertheless, the pride of eating something you crafted makes up for a slight drop in the skill of the maker. Homemade pasta, on the other hand, IS much better (and quite different) from most storebought dried pasta.

      Comment by Barzelay — February 13, 2009 @ 6:34 pm

    4. Lem: The dates are good, but I think dried cranberries would be even better.

      Mom: I know, you love those wrinkly little suckers. Boo!

      Barzelay: Maybe I don’t work as fast as you do (actually, there’s no “maybe” about it), but it always takes me closer to 2 hours to roast a chicken. And home workout? Please. You’ve met my dog. 🙂

      Comment by bettyjoan — February 13, 2009 @ 8:28 pm

    5. For the record, I roasted a chicken tonight and it took 1.5 hours just in the oven. That didn’t count the 5 minutes of prep (removing giblets, rubbing with oil, seasoning), the 10 minutes of resting, or the 5 minutes of carving. It was a 3.5 pound bird, FYI. That is all.

      Comment by bettyjoan — February 14, 2009 @ 2:28 am

    6. Betty,

      Since when did Barzelay work FAST in the kitchen??? Tasty and complex, yes…..but Fast???I think not. Don’t be intimidated, you are a great cook!!! BTW what’s for dinner on Sunday 🙂

      Comment by Mom — February 14, 2009 @ 2:20 pm

    7. I take it back. I roasted a chicken last night and timed it for purposes of responding. In fact, it took exactly 1 hour and 30 minutes to do the following: unwrap the chicken, clean the chicken, dry the chicken, tuck some butter under the skin, rub the outside of the skin with oil, salt, and pepper, truss the bird with twine, put it into a 450 degree oven, chop some potatoes and add them to the roasting pan, halve some brussels sprouts, drizzle them with oil and salt and pepper, put them in a separate baking dish, turn the chicken over so its breast side is up when it’s been in about 30 minutes, add the brussels sprouts to the bottom rack of the oven about halfway through the bird’s cooking, let the chicken cook to 155F in the deepest part of the breast, take it out to rest for 10 minutes, make gravy while the chicken rests, carve the chicken, and serve it with roasted potatoes and brussels sprouts. So 1.5 hours.

      Here’s something you could do: instead of roasting a chicken, roast little game hens. They’re delicious, are more forgiving than chicken in terms of moistness and tenderness, and cook much quicker.

      Your mother keeps complaining about me dirtying too many dishes, taking too long because I make too many components, and spending too much money on ingredients, but she keeps asking me to cook, so… I’ll take it in stride.

      Comment by Barzelay — February 14, 2009 @ 11:56 pm

    8. I’ve been threatening to make my own granola for a while. You might have just convinced me to do it!

      Comment by Barbara — February 15, 2009 @ 3:18 pm

    9. Barzelay, I’ve roasted the game hens before, but I really don’t care for them. Yeah, they taste pretty good, but there’s never enough meat for the amount of work it seems to take to get them set up. Personal preference. AND, I like to have leftovers, which I always do when I roast chicken.

      Barbara, take the plunge! It was really quite good.

      Comment by bettyjoan — February 15, 2009 @ 3:46 pm

    10. I can’t wait to try this recipe with my morning yogurt. I plugged it in to my Mastercook database and at 12 servings, the nutritional analysis is as follows:
      329 calories
      14 grams fat
      1 gram saturated fat
      3 grams monounsaturated fat
      9 grams polyunsaturated fat
      0 mg cholesterol
      96 mg sodium
      324 mg potassium
      47 grams carbohyrate
      6 grams fiber
      8 grams protein
      My husband is a heart patient, so I must watch fat and salt content. I am going to try spraying the baking sheet with cooking spray, cutting the walnut oil to 1 TBS and adding 1 TBS of olive oil. This brings fat down to 12 grams and calories down to 309. I’ll let you know how it goes. Thanks again for the recipe. Also, I always stuff the cavity of my roasted chicken with quartered lemons and heads of garlic sliced in half horizontally (a la Ina Garten). It is fabulous!
      Peace – Amy

      Comment by Amy Stillwell — February 15, 2009 @ 9:38 pm

    11. Wow, that is some cool software–I always wonder how my kitchen creations stack up nutritionally (some recipes have that info, but some definitely don’t). I’ll be interested to hear about the substitutions!

      Comment by bettyjoan — February 17, 2009 @ 1:14 pm

    12. […] and then I came home to be interviewed by the AJC.  In February, I perfected roasted chicken and granola, and Tom Colicchio redeemed himself to me.  In March, I finally wrote about the life-changing […]

      Pingback by 2009 – Full Throttle, Full Circle « Trouble With Toast — December 29, 2009 @ 1:28 pm


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