it's okay to play with your food

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Apple Almond Granola

Since I happen to be eating some now, I figured I would share the recipe for the Apple Almond Granola* I made this weekend. It's a variation on the Cranberry-Almond Oat cereal recipe from the Metropolitan Bakery Cookbook. If you are Philly phoodie, you know Metropolitan Bakery. I am not a bread person, and even I like their breads. And it's not just the food. The stores have a rustic Parisian feel that is so nice to step into. Exiting with a delicious pastry is a bonus.

The recipe is perfect for kitchenplay because of how versatile it is. It calls for sliced almonds, cranberries, cinnamon and ground cloves. But you can sub in any nuts, spices and dried fruit you prefer. I also replace the canola oil with an almond oil, which I like a lot.

Variations on Metropolitan Bakery's Cranberry- Almond Oat Cereal

3/4 cup oil (MBC suggests canola; I've used almond oil both times)
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract (since I'm using almond oil, I omit this)
3 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
6 to 12 oz. nuts (almonds, walnuts, whatever you like)
1 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup dry milk powder (I've never incorporated this... just didn't get around to buying it)
1-2 tsp. spices (cinnamon, ginger, fresh nutmeg, ground cloves, cardamom, etc.)
1 cup dried fruit (cranberries, cherries, raisins, dates, chopped up apple slices...)

1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. In a medium saucepan, stir together oil, honey and maple syrup. Place over low heat and bring just to a simmer. (Do not boil.) Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla (and almond, if using) extracts. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, wheat germ, (milk powder), and spices. Pour the warm honey mixture over the top, then toss to coat the nuts and grains. Divide the nut and grain mixture onto 2 nonstick baking trays. Spread each into a thin layer.

3. Bake the cereal 20 minutes; remove the pans from the oven and stir. Spread the cereal again and bake 15 minutes more or until light golden. Cool the cereal completely on the pans so it becomes crisp. Stir in the dried fruit. Store in an airtight container.

I actually only have one baking sheet (yeah, but i have a panini press and Linzer cookie cutters. Go figure?). And I didn't feel like going through the process twice. So I spread all of the cereal onto the one sheet. It took longer to cook through and I stirred it up 2 or 3 times, but it still worked. Also, this last time, I didn't have enough honey or maple syrup, so I added a bit of brown sugar to the dry mix.

* Granola just sounds so much more appealing than cereal.


e said...

Yum! I love the Metropolitan Bakery, and incorporate their granola blend into oatmeal cookies and shortbread bars all the time. I've made homemade granola loosely following this recipe from their cookbook as well. I use agave nectar instead of honey or maple syrup because of the it's low glycemic index, but I'll take your suggestion on almond oil next time and maybe use coconut extract instead of the almond extract. Thanks for the variation inspriation!

kitchenplay said...

You're the second person to suggest agave as a honey replacement on the blog. I need to try it out. I'm never a fan of things that are too sweet anyway. Thanks!

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