Anyone can be "the family chef". You just need good recipes and techniques! Chef Amy Fothergill shares her best recipes with you for quick and easy dishes with an emphasis on gluten-free.

Get information here about her cookbook, The Warm Kitchen: Gluten-Free Recipes Anyone Can Make and Everyone Will Love.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Homemade Granola-Regular or Gluten Free

Granola with Strawberries and Vanilla Yogurt

Granola can be very expensive. Have you ever wondered how to make it? It's quite easy. You need the right ingredients, a big bowl and a rimmed sheet pan. That's it. Oh, I suppose a good recipe helps, too.

Granola is a great snack. It can be used with yogurt and fruit or even on top of vanilla ice cream. When you make your own, you save money and can control how much sugar and fat goes in. Granola can be packed with fiber, vitamins and nutrients. And you can use whichever ingredients you like. Oats are the main ingredient in granola. You add sweet for flavor and fat for crispiness. Nuts are a nice accompaniment along with the cinnamon and sunflower seeds.

It's not easy to find gluten free granola. When you do, it can also be very expensive and some times it might have other ingredients you might not be able to have (this was the case when my daughter had food sensitivities). Making your own with the ingredients you like and/or can tolerate seems like a good idea.

I recently decided to go gluten free for a while to see if I experience any changes. Plus, it almost guarantees that I will eat less carbs. This version that you see is gluten free but you really can't tell. The key is buying gluten free oats. Oats do not have gluten inherently but it's picked up from other grains processed on the same machines. Some companies now harvest oats on separate machines which keeps the gluten out. That's great news for folks with celiac disease or anyone with gluten sensitivities.

I keep most of these ingredients on hand so when I decided this morning I wanted my own granola, it was done in about an hour. Ok, not counting the time I took to take the pictures and the time my daughter decided to help me. I like this recipe so much, it's going in the cookbook! Another bonus is that this granola has no refined sugar and lots of healthy ingredients like flax seeds and pecans. I hope you'll like it, too.

Homemade Granola (Regular or Gluten Free)

(makes 8 cups - about 1/2 gallon ziplock)

4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats*
1 cup toasted wheat germ* (you can toast in a sauté pan the same way you do with nuts)
1/2 cup flax seeds
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
3 Tbl molasses
2 Tbl agave nectar
1/3 cup canola or safflower oil
1/3 cup water

1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried cranberries

1. Heat oven to 300 degrees with rack in center. In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, wheat germ, flax seeds, cinnamon, ginger, sunflower seeds, walnuts, and coconut.
2. Pour the molasses, agave nectar, oil, and water over the mixture and stir until it is well coated. Spread evenly in one or two rimmed baking sheets.
3. Bake, stirring every 15 minutes, until dry and lightly browned - about 40 minutes. Let granola cool to room temp, then add raisins and cranberries.
4. Store in an airtight container at room temp for up to 1 month.

*To make it Gluten Free, use GF oats and omit the wheat germ.

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