Sunday, November 23, 2014

Homemade Granola: You'll Love It, Guaranteed

It's Thanksgiving week, and all the foodie media outlets are trying to sell you their take on the holiday meal. "37 side dishes your family will love!" "Vegans coming for Thanksgiving? You don't have to kick 'em outside to enjoy your meal in peace." "Pumpkin pie like you've never seen it before!"

And on and on and on.

But what about all the other meals you have to make over the very long weekend for all those visiting relatives and friends? No one talks about that, do they?

Well, I'm jumping in with the easiest of easy things to make to get all those people off to a hearty start on their day, and they'll even be able to serve themselves so you don't have to get up and commence rattling pans and cracking eggs. Plus even after all those people are gone and the house is quiet again you can make it for yourself and your family and freeze it for enjoying whenever you like.

This recipe was created by my mom for the now-legendary Shakers Café, my brother's restaurant in the nascent Pearl District that boasted long lines and bellies full of classic American food. You can make it as is, or add your own mix of nuts and dried fruits or serve it plain with a smorgasbord of condiments to customize the mix. It's great with milk or yogurt or all by itself, but the best part is that the work will be done ahead and you can sit back and accept the flood of compliments.

Janet Bauer's Shakers Café Granola

1/2 c. butter or margarine
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. vanilla
3 oz. orange juice
2/3 c. honey
8 c. rolled oats
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 1/4 c. sunflower seeds
1/2 c. wheat germ (optional)
1 1/4 c. coconut
1 c. walnuts
2/3 c. slivered almonds
2 c. raisins, currants or other dried fruit

Preheat oven to 325°.

Melt butter in small saucepan. When melted, remove from heat and stir in cinnamon, vanilla, orange juice and honey.

In large mixing bowl, combine remaining ingredients except raisins. Add honey mixture and stir till moistened. Spread on cookie sheet and bake for 30 min. Remove from oven, reducing heat to 300°, and turn with spatula. Return to oven and bake for 25 min., checking every few minutes to make sure granola does not burn. Cool thoroughly and store in quart zip-lock bags. [I keep them in the freezer until needed. - KAB]

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