I must admit I was a little bummed to find Cornish game hens at Mike’s mom’s house tonight – it does make sense to make teeny birds for each of us – Chicken Little instead instead of Big Bird (which I did offer to make) but it’s just not quite the same. Particularly without gravy and cranberry sauce and stuffing. Not that I’m complaining. Well, maybe I am. I realize I just had turkey dinner last night, but my gut was anticipating another, one unsullied by an overabundance of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls.
Wow, am I spoiled.
At any rate I didn’t bring my camera, as I expected the same turkey dinner from Safeway we had last year, and had already taken photos of this morning’s granola experiment which carried me through the afternoon and which I’m now munching on in front of a movie. I wouldn’t have gone looking for a granola recipe – it’s something I’ve been winging for years generally with success, and most recipes I’ve come across contain unnecessary quantities of melted butter – often as much as a cup – which I have no doubt is delicious but is not where I want to set the bar. Mine generally contains only grains, nuts, seeds and honey and/or maple syrup, with some dried fruit tossed in at the end. I came across a version made with applesauce in Nigella Lawson’s Feast, and then stumbled upon it again last week on Orangette and took it as a sign.
The recipe calls for brown rice syrup, which is not as sweet as sugar but will produce a crisp, crunchy texture. I was suspicious of the age of the bottle I had in my cupboard, and so used maple syrup instead and it was just fine. I used a bag of all-nuts trail mix I picked up in Edmonton, so the batch has pistachios, cashews, almonds and hazelnuts, and almost a cup of sesame seeds.
Now, upon reviewing and writing it out, I have just discovered I missed entirely the 3/4 cup of brown sugar from her dry ingredient list, which explains why it’s not overly sweet or clumpy. I love it when this sort of thing happens, when you discover you can get rid of 3/4 cup of sugar (and over 500 calories) and not even miss it.
My New Granola
(adapted from Nigella Lawson, via Orangette)
5 cups old-fashioned oats
2-3 cups almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, walnuts or a combination
3/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup ground flax seeds
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce (or a lunch box snack pack)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup honey
2 Tbsp. canola or flax oil
1/2 – 1 cup raisins, cranberries, chopped dried apricots or a combination (optional)
Set racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat it to 300°F.
In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. In a small bowl, stir together all of the wet ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir well.
Spread the mixture evenly onto two rimmed baking sheets. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, stirring once or twice, until pale golden. Set aside to cool completely, then stir in the dried fruit if you like.
Store in zilpoc bags or airtight containers. Makes 8-10 cups.