Saturday, January 30, 2016

Granola

This recipe will produce loose granola with a few large clusters. We love to use this granola in our yogurt (homemade yogurt recipe), but it is wonderful to add a few spoonfuls to a bowl of cereal.

Before we get started, a couple of helpful tips:
  • If you want clusters, then the key step is to press the oat mixture down so it's nice and compact. This allows the oil and syrup to bind the ingredients together more tightly.
  • I use the slicer blade of my food processor to chop the almonds. It's faster this way, but if you don't have a processor then a large knife and careful hands will do fine.

Ingredients

1/2 C maple syrup
1/3 C brown sugar
5 t vanilla extract
1/2 t salt

1/2 C vegetable oil

5 C (458g) old-fashioned rolled oats
2 C (240g) raw almonds or other nuts, chopped coarse
1/4 C (30g) wheat germ
1/4 C (30g) ground flaxseed

(optional)
2 C raisins or dried fruit, chopped small

Directions

  1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position. Preheat oven to 325°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a non-stick mat like a Silpat Silicone Baking Mat.
  2. Whisk together the maple syrup, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk in the oil. Fold in the oats, almonds, wheat germ, and flaxseed until thoroughly coated. 


  3. Pour oat mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and spread it across the sheet into a thin and even layer. Using a large spatula, press down on the oat mixture until it is very compact.
    Granola before pressing it down
  4. Bake 40 to 45 minutes until the granola is lightly browned. Be sure to rotate the baking sheeting halfway through the cooking process. 
  5. Remove from the oven and allow your masterpiece to cool completely at room temperature. This will take about an hour. 
  6. Slowly break apart the granola, being mindful that the granola may shatter and fly little pieces everywhere if you aren't careful. 
  7. Finally, stir in the raisins, dried fruit, or other toppings. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Apple Crumble

I subscribe to the Food Network Magazine and truly recommend it. I like to use the recipes as a base for my personal touches. They have a series called "Mix-and-Match" where they show a variety of recipes using just a few minor tweaks. One great article was their article on making a crumble. 

I want to share with you a few tips / tricks that have really helped me.

Read their posting on their website.

A crumble is a fantastic way to use a lot of apples. I like to use a variety or mix of apples when making this dessert. The focus for me is to mix hard apples like Granny Smith with softer apples like Gala. The final dessert will give you a unique texture and variety. The softer apples will give up more of their moisture which is then thickened by the flour to produce a well-bound filling.





Ingredients
Misc
  • butter for the pan and topping
Topping
  • ¾ C finely chopped nuts
    • walnuts
    • almonds
    • pistachios
    • pecans
    • hazelnuts
  • ½ C rolled oats
  • ¾ C flour (94 g)
  • ½ C brown sugar (100 g)
  • salt, pinch
  • 1 T cinnamon
  • 7 T Butter, softened, chopped
Filling
  • ~10 apples (see notes)
  • Optional items
    • 2 C raspberries
    • 1 C dried cranberries
    • 2 C blueberries
  • 3 T sugar
  • 2 T flour
  • 1 t vanilla
  • salt, pinch
  • ½ t nutmeg
  • 1 t cinnamon

Directions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter one 2-quart shallow baking dish or eight 6-ounce ramekins.
 
Topping
  1. Finely chop 3/4 cup of the nuts.
  2. Whisk together the oats, flour, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon.
  3. Add the nuts to the bowl. Work in butter with your fingers until evenly moistened; set aside. (Alternatively, you could use a food processor. This will create a very fine crumb. Using your fingers will produce a larger / rougher crumb.)
Filling
  1. Peel the apples & cut into 3/4-inch chunks. These are “bite-sized chunks”. If you are using softer apples like Gala or they are just older apples, then cut them larger.
  2. Toss the apples with your optional fruit add-ons.
  3. Mix in the sugar, flour, vanilla, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon.
  4. Transfer the filling to the prepared dish(es) and dot with 2 tablespoons cut-up cold butter.
  5. Squeeze handfuls of the crumble mixture and scatter on top of the fruit. The purpose here is to create crumble balls. With you hands you are squeezing together the topping and it binds together. When you spread it on the filling, it should break up on its own. Whatever chunks remain will bake into crumble.
  6. Bake until golden and bubbly, 40 to 45 minutes. Pay attention to the bubbling part. You should hear it. If you used apples that were on the softer side, then you might hear more bubbling.
  7. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Notes regarding the apples
  • I prefer using a mix of apples like Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Galas, etc.
  • I don’t recommend really soft apples like Red Delicious
  • Amount depends on your cooking container. Keep skinning / chopping until your container is full.