Monday, December 18, 2006

And the winner is...

Maple Almond Cranberry Granola

I did a little recipe testing over the weekend to decide what to give to Ian's (super patient) teachers and the granola kicked ass. I know you are thinking "how can a woosy, hippy food stand up to the decadence of chocolate peppermint bars, or the savory delights of blue cheese pecan crackers?" It might have been a fairer fight if the recipe for the chocolate peppermint bars was decent, but it sucked. They turned out greasy and chewy and I was pissed that I had wasted good cocoa, and plus gras butter and had upgraded their stated chocolate chips for hand-chunked Ghiradelli. The kids each ate one and then wandered away--if the small sugar fiends aren't clamoring for more, there's probably something wrong. We were so underwhelmed with these that we ended up throwing away 3/4 of the pan.

And the blue cheese pecan crackers were tasty, but very crumbly and they just didn't look very special. I think they'd make a good gift if, say, they accompanied a nice bottle of port, but I'm pretty sure that getting your kid's teachers drunk is frowned upon in this town.

I'm further justifying the granola crunch factor with the detail that my kid goes to the "alternative" elementary school in town; you know, the one where you call all the teachers by their first names, there are big squishy couches in the middle of the class rooms and kids are encouraged to work at their own pace, whatever that pace may be. That should be the kind of audience receptive to a granola gift, yes?

Honestly, I wouldn't be giving this if it wasn't so damn tasty. For such an easy recipe, the payback is really high. All weekend we were grabbing a handful of this stuff to munch (while simultaneously averting our eyes from the icky chocolate peppermint bars), and not just at breakfast time.

Maple Almond Cranberry Granola

2 T ground flax seeds (grind in a spice or coffee grinder, or buy pre-ground)
3 C old fashioned oats, organic preferred
1 C sliced almonds
1/2 C hulled raw pepitas (green pumpkin seeds)
1/4 raw sunflower seeds
1/2 t salt
a little less than 1/2 C canola oil
a little less than 1/2 C maple syrup, grade B preferred
1/2 C dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 325.

In a big bowl mix all the dry ingredients except for cranberries.

Stir in oil and maple syrup and stir until evenly coated.

Spread mixture evenly in a large shallow baking pan with sides. Bake for 15 minutes then take the pan out, stir and re-spread and rotate. Bake for another 15 minutes (30 minutes total). If your oven has hot spots, you may want to break it up into 10 minute increments and stir again to make sure none of it burns.

Cool in pan. Then stir in dried cranberries.

Makes about 5 cups. Doubles easily (so long as you have two pans).


Anonymous said...

Glad to have the recipe. I ended up bringing them lunch (easy for me since they are all in the same location/room/area) and made that pork pozole and black bean soup for the vegetarians. I made enough of the pork for leftovers. YUMMM!

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