January 25, 2009

Walnut and Date Granola

I recently realized, partly thanks to my roommate, that granola tastes quite good on top of oatmeal.  I saw this recipe a little while ago and had planned on making it but was spurred to do so after my trip to the grocery store today because granola is expensive!  I made my own once before, and it was pretty good but missing those much sought after clusters that everyone (yes, everyone) loves.   

I was interested in trying this recipe because it incorporated a couple of binding ingredients I didn't think of adding last time such as egg whites and flaxseed meal.  

Making it was slightly laborious because the recipe calls for taking it out of the oven twice to stir so that in total it bakes in three increments.  Luckily the increments are short (15 minutes) so I worked on clean-up and chopping the dates as it cooked.  

When it cooled I had a healthy sprinkling atop some Greek yogurt and it was good, but not quite as amazing as I had hoped it would be.  I know the granola you make at home is supposed to be better than the stuff you buy at the supermarket, so I'm sad to say that I'm not sure if this one is.  I think it was missing something, perhaps some ground cinnamon or vanilla extract or maple syrup as opposed to honey would have helped?  Also, I think there was too much brown sugar and too much honey overall.  

Still, one thing this recipe did remarkably well was cluster.  I think this is partially because I made sure to push the granola together and pat it down with my spatula (as if I were making granola bars) each time after I stirred it and, perhaps most importantly, as it was cooling. Pushing the granola together like this allows the sugars to bind the individual oats together as the mixture hardens.  So the bottom line is: this recipe has all of the right components to make the cluster filled granola you buy in stores but needs a little tweaking when it comes to flavor, so experiment.

Quick Omega-3 Granola
Adapted from Bon Appétit

  • 4 tablespoons walnut oil, divided [I used olive oil]
  • 3/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar [I used less]
  • 1/4 cup egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon (scant) coarse kosher salt
  • 3 cups organic old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup walnut halves, broken in half
  • 1/2 cup flaxseed meal*
  • 1 cup pitted dates, coarsely chopped or torn into pieces [I always buy non-pitted dates because they are much moister and removing the pit is very easy]
  • 1/4 cup honey


Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush heavy large rimmed baking sheet with 2 tablespoons oil. Whisk 2 tablespoons oil, sugar, egg whites, and salt in large bowl. Add oats, walnuts, and flaxseed; toss well.

Spread mixture evenly on prepared sheet. Bake 15 minutes. Using metal spatula, stir granola. Bake 15 minutes longer. Stir again. Sprinkle dates over; drizzle with honey. Bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes longer. Stir to loosen. Transfer to clean baking sheet to cool completely. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 week ahead. Keep chilled in airtight container.**

*ground flaxseeds; available at natural foods stores

**I think the baking time could be cut down slightly in each increment, I only did about 12 minutes each time.

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