Happy Weekend!! This past weekend, I made granola LOTS of granola! . A while ago I posted about my "Beat the Blues" Granola, and while that granola is delicious, I felt like it was lacking a certain something. Upon further thought, I realized what I wanted was a really, really, clumpy granola. The kind you can buy at the bakery that is broken up into chunks and sooo good to munch as a snack, even without milk or yogurt. I have always had a love of clumps in my cereal. When eating Honey Bunches of Oats, I pick through and eat just the bunches. Raisin Bran Crunch? I search out the crunchies. So, I thought to myself, why not make a granola that is mostly clumps with some small oats thrown in there?
Well, I was at Whole Foods a few days ago browsing the bulk section for dried fruits, when I saw that they have a HUGE selection of bulk granola! And on every bin the ingredients are listed. I was able to look at all different types of granola and asses their relative "clumpiness." What I was looking for is a ratio of about 2/3 clumps to 1/3 "loose" (single pieces of oats, nuts, the non-clumps basically). I was immediatley drawn to the beautiful clumpiness of one of these called Aunt Maple's Crunchy Granola (made by grizzlies granola). I studied the ingredients in hopes of discovering what gives it its special clumpy powers. I noticed that the ingredients included maple syrup, sunflower oil, honey, and crunchy almond butter. Basically a grande mix of sticky stuff. Ah ha! I thought that must be it! LOTS of sticky goo to hold it together. So from there I went about my sticky quest buying up every substance I thought might work as a good "binder". I got maple syrup, sunflower oil, honey, and crunchy peanut butter (I think it has more flavor). I arrived home with my loot and commenced the search for a crunchy lumpy recipe. I found TONS of blogs with posts dedicated to recipe's claiming to produce the clumpiest granola imaginable. How to choose??? I continued my research by looking at ingredient lists for every crunchy looking granola I could find, and let me say, I spent a LOT of time browsing the granola selections at Whole Foods, trader joes, New Seasons, and even at good old Winco which has a pretty clumptastic granola they sell in their bakery. I finally decided to try two blog recipe's which use ingredients that commonly pop up on the crunchiest looking granola labels, and for the third batch I decided to use a combination of all the sticky stuff I had bought and just wing it. Thus, the great granola experiment commenced. My plan was to make all three recipes and decide from the results which reigns supreme as the Most Clumptastic Granola. I did tweak the first two recipe's a bit, and I halved them as I was making THREE batches of granola, so I included the links in case you would like to try out the original recipe's for yourself.
This recipe comes courtesy of Regina Ray's blog. I chose this recipe due to #1 it's simplicity, #2 the use of peanut butter, honey, and olive oil as "binders" (olive oil seemed unusual, which intrigued me...) and reason #3 She seems to share my desire for a good clumpy granola.
Here is the recipe as I used it:
2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup mixed nuts, lightly salted.
The original recipe doesn't specify type of nut, so I used dry roasted sunflower seeds (for the salty part), raw flax seeds, and raw coarsly chopped almonds
1/4 cup honey
3 heaping tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
1 tbsp olive oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Chop lightly salted nuts into chunks (I would recommend just chopping the almonds while leaving the smaller seeds whole.) On stove, melt peanut butter, honey, and olive oil (little hint, measure out olive oil first and the peanut butter won't stick to the tablespoon). Stir until mixture is thinned and liquidy.
Pour on top of oats and nuts and mix thoroughly to coat.
Layer on baking sheet and bake 10-14 minutes until granola is golden brown. Let cool completely, break into pieces and store in an air-tight container.
This was pretty clumpy! The ratio was about 2/3 clumps to 1/3 non clumps (oat and nut pieces not bound together) The clumps break up pretty easily and it is a very crisp granola. As you can see, the recipe does not call for any fruit. I like this because I have found that with drier granolas, baking them with dried fruit produces SUPER dried out fruit that is chewy and lacks flavor. All in all, this is a great, basic, clumpy granola. I like the simplicity of it's ingredients and think that this is one I will use as a "base" recipe. I plan on making it again using a splash of vanilla, almond butter, and adding in dried strawberries after baking.
This is from a blog called Cake and Commerce. I chose this one because of it's unusual baking technique and because the auther commented that she had tried out 5 different recipes to find a good clump, and this was her winner. The recipe is vague regarding exact amounts and ingredients to use as the author wants to keep her version a secret (which I completely understand!).
Here is her original ingredient list:
Due to the inspecifity of this list, I was free to use the ingredients I thought would produce the tastiest, biggest clumps. Please forgive my measurements as it was a bit difficult to come up with ratios since I was halving the recipe and I am overly perfectionistic. It actually took me a good ten minutes to sit down and figure out, mathematically, how to halve the recipe. I based my measurements on a recipe where 5 parts rolled oats is = to 2 cups rolled oats (I am no math wiz, but I am borderline OCD so I figured it out down to the nearest tablespoon). I figured if I was gonna conduct a scientific experiment, I better be EXACT. In retrospect, I think it would have been just as succesful if I had estimated.
My calculations.... did I mention the OCD? ya....