Friday, September 21, 2012

Baked Oatmeal Granola

I have had this recipe saved forever and never made the granola for one reason or another.  No honey or no old fashion oats or no coconut oil.  I decided to finally do it when I saw the 42 oz container of oats on sale for $2.57.  What could be better than a good recipe mixed with a sale :)  Maybe someone to make it for you but I have tested it out and swear it is worth the very little effort it takes to make this yummy treat. 

I pulled out all the ingredients.  I decided that I would use a canola oil blend instead of coconut oil (even though I am sure it would taste fabulous, it isn't something I keep in my kitchen).  I also decided that I would use half old fashion oats and half quick oats.

I measured the oats in my super big 4 cup measuring cup.  The quick oats were much more compacted in the container because of the smaller size of the oats.  In case you don't know, basically the quick oats look like the old fashion oats through a blender.

I mixed the oats in a bowl and set it aside.  Can you see the big old fashion oats in that bowl??

Then I mixed the canola oil, margarine, honey, and brown sugar on the stove in a small sauce pan.  I stirred and stirred and stirring and it was looking really good but the directions said wait for a low boil which I didn't have yet so I ran upstairs because my husband had fallen asleep with my son again and when I got back downstairs, the whole sauce pan was boiling over!!!  All over the clean stove was the stickiest cooking glue.  I was trying to scrape it off the hot burner with a spatula.  Then my half asleep husband walks into the kitchen after hearing me mumbling and smelling the wonderful smell of burning brown sugar.  He opens the window and squints his eyes at me...probably wishing that I just left him sleeping.  So without the step of boiling over and burning, your sauce should look like this (I highly recommend skipping that step because clean up is a little more involved):

Take off the heat and add 4 tsp vanilla and two heaping tsp cinnamon (or even more to taste).  Mix the sauce together.  Then, pour the liquid from the saucepan over the oats and stir until combined.  I didn't leave all the oats in the bowl because I didn't want to stir and have them go flying so I mixed and then added some more oats and continued mixing which was really helpful.

Spread the mixture in three jelly roll pans.  Quick side note:  Do you know the difference between a cookie sheet and a jelly roll pan?  In my house growing up, we only had jelly roll pans and we always called them cookie sheets.  A cookie sheet is flat and doesn't have any sides and the jelly roll pan has four sides and can hold in all the oats so that they don't fall over the sides.  I now have two of both in the house which I actually do use for different things but since this recipe needed three, I used two jelly roll pans and then put my silpat on my cookie sheet and spread out the remaining mixture that I added some raisins to!!!

Bake at 375 for 10 minutes and then shut off the oven.  Take out the oats and stir them around.  They pretty much look the same and when you put them in which had me a little confused but I was trusting the process.  Put the pans back in the oven and it will cook while the oven is cooling off.

The next morning, you wake up to find pans of oatmeal in the oven which are perfectly browned.  Doesn't it look yummy???

The one with the raisins from the cookie sheet with the silpat cooks up a little differently then the rest and I can't figure out what was the changing force- the silpat, the raisins, or being more moist because it was the last at the bottom of the bowl.  I liked it the best of all three pans!!! The pieces came out more solid and you could almost eat it like a granola bar instead of the more cereal texture of the other two pans. A note about the raisins, they were extra chewy so if you want them to still taste like raisins, you might want to follow the recipe suggestions and add them after baking.  I just remember my mom making granola when I was a kid and my favorite part was the hot raisins out of the oven so I had to try it!!

I couldn't keep my hands out of it.  I ate it for breakfast, snack and lunch.  Then again later for a late night snack.  It is the best thing to have around because it is so much healthier then anything else that I would pick up.  I am going to stock up on oats and make some again soon.  This time I will be less cautious and use more old fashion oats with only a little bit of quick oats to make it a little easier to pick up and eat (I actually had to stop writing and go grab a container of it... thanks for making me talk about it again).

My biggest recipe note is to make sure that you figure out what you are going to store all of the granola in when you get it all cooked.  I hadn't really thought that far ahead but I ended up storing then in a variety of different Tupperware bowls.  Next time I hope to have worked out the recipe so that the pans taste a little more a like so I am going to be able to put them in one container.  I am hoping the added liquid  from not boiling over will also add to the yummy goodness :)  I highly recommend giving this recipe a try and seeing what your family thinks!!!

I was going to try the peanut butter one but after making the peanut butter baked oatmeal, my husband informed me that he doesn't really like peanut butter.  This was news to me but I figured better safe than sorry so I made the basic recipe first to test it out.  Plus, I don't know if I could eat all the peanut butter all by myself... of who am I kidding, I could but I don't know it would be that healthy :)

Test out my recipe and check out the original recipe!  I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did :)

Basic Granola

1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 c butter or margarine (can use 1 c coconut oil instead of oil and butter)
1 cup honey
3/4 cup brown sugar (feel free to adjust this based on the strength of your sweet tooth)
4 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons cinnamon
15 cups (one 42 ounce box) old fashioned oats (can mix with quick oats)

Mix brown sugar, oil, and honey in a small saucepan.  Bring to a low boil.  Remove from heat.  Stir in cinnamon and vanilla.

Pour over oats in a large bowl.  Stir until well coated.

Spread oats in three jelly roll or cookie sheet pans.  Bake at 375° for 10 minutes.  Take out and stir.

Return pans to oven.  Turn oven off.

Go to bed and breakfast will be ready for you when you wake up.  (If you prefer to start your granola earlier in the day, it will be ready when your oven cools.)
Notes from original recipe:
Store granola in an airtight container.  Stick it in the freezer for long-term storage.  (I wouldn’t know anything about that; we eat it too fast.)

Add ins before baking:
  • chopped walnuts, almonds, pecans
  • shredded coconut
  • sunflower seeds
Add ins after baking/before serving:
  • raisins, dried cranberries, or other dried fruit
  • dark chocolate or mini chocolate chips (white chocolate chips, peanut butter chips…)
Granola Variations
  • Pumpkin Pie Granola ~ sub some pumpkin pie spice for the cinnamon and add pumpkin puree to the saucepan; toss some pumpkin seeds in with the oats
  • Chocolate Granola  ~ add cocoa powder and chocolate chips; I’d vote for some dried cranberries on top of all that
  • Peanut Butter Granola ~ add a cup of peanut butter (crunchy for me!) and reduce the oil by 1/2; make it a treat with chocolate chips before serving
  • Apple Cinnamon Granola ~ a less sweet version for the sensitive sweet tooth
  • Tropical Granola ~ add coconut before baking, and some dried tropical fruit (pineapple, bananas, mangoes) before serving

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