Valet Confidential

Find out what I've been keeping under my hat

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THAT doesn’t taste like wild hickory nuts …,

… at least, I don’t think so.  To be honest, I’m not sure I know what wild hickory nuts taste like.  All I know for sure is that I think my granola tastes pretty damn good, and it seems as if a few others agree.

This year for Christmas I made several batches of granola and gave them out to various friends (If you didn’t get a jar, don’t be shy – I can make more!).  It has gotten some good reviews from folks, as well as a couple of requests for the recipe.

I can’t take credit for the recipe – I believe it comes from the good people at Cooks Illustrated –  but I do take a few liberties with the original recipe depending on what I have around.

And with that, here’s the recipe …

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup packed (2 1/3 ounces) light brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 5 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 cups (10 ounces) raw almonds , chopped coarse
  • 2 cups raisins or other dried fruit, chopped

Original Notes:

  • Chopping the almonds by hand is the first choice for superior texture and crunch. If you prefer not to hand chop, substitute an equal quantity of slivered or sliced almonds. (A food processor does a lousy job of chopping whole nuts evenly.)
  • Use a single type of your favorite dried fruit or a combination.
  • Do not use quick oats.

My Notes:

  • Got sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds (or other seeds you think might taste good)?  Throw some in!  I don’t measure, but I guess I usually toss in 1/3 to 1/2 cup of seeds total.
  • In my opinion almonds seem to be the tastiest to use, but if you’ve got raw walnuts or pecans, it’s worth giving them a try to see what you think.
  • I found that the maple syrup/brown sugar/vanilla/salt/oil mixture didn’t really coat the oat/nut/seed all that well, so I upped the quantities of the liquid mixture by about another 1/2 (so 1/2 cup each of maple syrup & brown sugar, 3/4 cup of oil, 6 teaspoons of vanilla – I didn’t bother increasing the salt).  I’d suggest starting with the original recipe but feel free to experiment.

Instructions:

  1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in large bowl. Whisk in oil. Fold in oats and almonds until thoroughly coated.
  3. Transfer oat mixture to prepared baking sheet and spread across sheet into thin, even layer (about 3/8 inch thick). Using stiff metal spatula, compress oat mixture until very compact. Bake until lightly browned, 40 to 45 minutes, rotating pan once halfway through baking.
  4. Remove granola from oven and cool on wire rack to room temperature, about 1 hour.
  5. Break cooled granola into pieces of desired size. Stir in dried fruit.
  6. (Granola can be stored in airtight container for up to 2 weeks.)
So there you have it – happy eating!
I gotta ask, though – please let me give it out again next year for Christmas, OK?

One Response to THAT doesn’t taste like wild hickory nuts …,

  1. Agustina Maks says:

    Maple syrup is a syrup usually made from the xylem sap of sugar maple, red maple, or black maple trees, although it can also be made from other maple species. In cold climates, these trees store starch in their trunks and roots before the winter; the starch is then converted to sugar that rises in the sap in the spring. Maple trees can be tapped by boring holes into their trunks and collecting the exuded sap. The sap is processed by heating to evaporate much of the water, leaving the concentrated syrup.:.`;

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