Sunday, May 5, 2019

Rosie Makes Some Of The Best Granola/Trail Mix Squares

 It's one of my favorite things to eat.

I've found that as I've      aged      matured, I really can't eat full meals anymore.  They're just too much.  But, I can snack, nibble, and nosh all day long.  Enter granola.  It's perfect for snacking.  It's chewy.  It's crunchy.  It's nutty.  It's ... perfect. 

Mr. Hawthorne used to be in charge of the granola.  He'd see me eating handfuls of Quaker Oats granola right out of the box and said, "I can make that.  And I can make it better."  And he did.

Rosie, not to be culinarily deposed, had to get on the granola bandwagon too.
And so, I've come up with an excellent granola recipe which is highly adaptable to one's own tastes and proclivities.  I'm giving you the basic guidelines here, and you can try it out for yourself my way first, then go out on your own, adding here and there to suit yourself.  This is a recipe that can be played with.  Have fun!

Rosie's Granola
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 cups coconut
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3 cups quick cooking oatmeal

Combine all ingredients very well.

1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup honey
3 TB molasses
1/3 cup coconut oil
2 TB vanilla
1 tsp kosher salt

In a small sauce pan, combine corn syrup, honey, and molasses.  Bring to a simmer and cook about 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in coconut oil, vanilla, and salt.  Let cool a bit.

Slowly pour syrup into dry ingredients, stirring to coat evenly.  Take your time here, because you want that syrup distributed throughout the oats and nuts.

Line a 10 x 13 inch pan with parchment paper and heat oven to 325°.
Press granola mixture evenly into pan.
 I use an offset spatula to press around the corners, then I cover the mixture with plastic wrap and use a mini rolling pin up and down and back and forth to press and even out the mixture.

Bake in a 325° oven for 35-40 minutes total.  Every 10 minutes or so, rotate the pan and press down the granola mixture with your rolling pin.
When it's golden, remove from oven and let cool a bit.  Lift parchment and granola out of pan and slice into bars.

Now, for the step-by-steps, then I'll offer some suggestions and substitutions.

 In a large bowl, mix all dry ingredients.

 Slowly, pour in simmered syrup, stirring constantly.

 Keep stirring and mixing.

 Pour onto a parchment lined 10 x 13-inch baking pan.

Cover with plastic wrap and press out evenly with a mini rolling pin.
This way and...
that way...

Take an offset spatula and neaten up those edges.

And bake.
Every 10 minutes, rotate the pan and roll the granola to press it down.

Let cool a bit.  Then invert and slice.

Let cool completely.

Rosie's Suggestions and Substitutions
This recipe is not etched in stone.
As for the nuts, use what you like.
Peanuts are a good choice, as are honey-roasted peanuts, which I threw in one time just because I had them.  Sunflower and/or pumpkin seeds are a great addition too.
One time I even threw in a handful of Honey Bunches of Oats cereal

and Youngest Hawthorne
recognized it and like it!

As for the nuts I use, I don't bother chopping them.  I generally use them whole, but sometimes I put them in a bag and run a rolling pin over top to lightly crumble.  It's up to you.
I do not use raisins, although I do use dried cranberries.  I think raisins have a tendency to take on a "burned" flavor, so I avoid them.  If you think of anything else you might want to add, say your preference of nuts or even dates (Go Medjool!  Not dried.), go right ahead.  The recipe is capable of taking on another cup of nutty, fruity goodness. 

  Maybe next time
 I'll throw in some Grape Nuts! 







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