Cupboard Quarantine Cooking: Simple Pantry Granola
At the time of this writing, we are 3 weeks into the Covid-19 quarantine, and 1 week before the start of Passover. Usually at this time of year, I am racing to finish up all our leftover hametz in a frenzy of starchy carbs. This year, however, I have decided to set some hametz aside. We have no idea where we will be when Passover ends mid-April, but it is quite likely that we will still be stuck in our homes with limited access to groceries and supplies. I am no religious authority so please don't go by what I say, but I am saving some unopened hametzadik items in a sealed box in a closet outside of the kitchen and will include it in the symbolic amount that we "sell" online before the holiday starts.
I did want to use up my large supply of oats however, and there is no better way to do that than by making granola. Just to be clear - granola is not really a "health food". While it does contain healthy ingredients such as oats and nuts, it also contains a lot of oil and liquid sweetener. It is extremely high in calories and very easy to overeat. It is basically like crumbling oatmeal cookies into a bowl and calling it cereal. So proceed with caution if you are working to keep your weight down or you feel granola could trigger overeating. If you do not have those concerns or simply couldn't be bothered to care at the moment (and you are NOT alone in that feeling!), rock on with your granola making.
To make this recipe vegan, we are avoiding the use of honey. In it's place, I used silan, or date syrup, because it is plentiful in Israel where I live. You could use agave nectar, maple syrup, brown rice syrup or any other liquid sweetener of your choice.
Simple Pantry Granola
2 cups uncooked rolled oats
2 cups chopped nuts or seeds or your choice (I used Brasil nuts, hazelnuts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds because that is what I had)
1/3 cup melted coconut oil (or any vegetable oil)
1/3 cup silan (or any other liquid sweetener like agave, maple, or brown rice syrup)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
dash of salt
1-2 handfuls of dried fruit, if desired (I used cranberries)
1. Preheat the oven to 150C / 300F.
2. In a large bowl mix the oats and the chopped nuts.
3. In a small bowl, melt the coconut oil and then stir in the sweetener and the vanilla.
4. Pour the oil mixture over the oat mixture. Add the cinnamon and salt. Mix well.
5. Spread the granola out on a baking tray as evenly and thinly as possible to enable even cooking.
6. Bake for 25 minutes and check to see if it's turning just lightly golden. The mixture will still feel a bit wet. It will crisp up as it cools.
7. If you think it needs a bit more baking, set your timer for TWO minutes and keep checking at two minute intervals. Let me tell you from experience that granola goes from "not ready" "not ready" "not ready" to "burned beyond saving, in the blink of an eye. Do NOT leave the kitchen in the final minutes of baking and do not get distracted!
8. Remove from the oven and sprinkle any dried fruit you are using on top but do not mix it in yet. Let cool 10-15 minutes.
9. With your hands, gently mix the now softened dried fruit into the granola, breaking up clumps as much as your preference. (Granola clumps are the best part of this whole thing, don't be too vigorous in your clump dispersal).
10. Allow to cool completely before storing in a glass jar.