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Friday, 25 April 2008

Mmmm… granola

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summary: recipe for granola made with steel cut oat groats and flattened rice; (click on image for larger view and more photos)

granola Is there something about April that makes people neeeeeeed to use oatmeal?

This month’s Bread Baking Day asks for bread with oatmeal. I confess that until seeing that, I hadn’t really thought about using oatmeal in anything but stuffed roasted capon (don’t turn up your nose! oatmeal dressing is NOT like porridge).

I looked through my books and saw some promising recipes for bread with oatmeal. All the recipes called for rolled oats. We always have quick oats on hand for the dressing but haven’t had rolled oats around for ages. And I got to thinking about rolled oats. And completely forgot about making bread with oatmeal.

I suddenly had an urge to make granola. I love granola and haven’t made it in ages.

I’m not alone on this granola kick. Susan (Wild Yeast) made granola recently. And not long ago, Jasmine (Confessions of a Cardamom Addict) was looking for rolled oats for granola.

Me three. I neeeeded to make granola. Not just any granola though. Granola like the granola made by the cooks one year at summer camp. Granola with raisins, coconut and poppy seeds. The best granola I’ve ever had.

I went to the supermarket and…

What’s this??? There were NO rolled oats! There were many packages of quick oats. But no rolled oats. Not in the baking aisle. Not in the cereal aisle. It was a Monday so I decided they must have had a run on rolled oats (??!) and were going to restock the shelves.

I went to the healthfood store…

Again. NO rolled oats! Plenty of quickoats. Plenty of granola with rolled oats in the ingredients list but NO rolled oats in their own package. NO rolled oats in the bulk bins.

I returned a few days later to the supermarket and…

oat groats and flattened rice Yay!!! I THOUGHT I found them when I saw “steel cut” oats in a fancy looking blue cardboard tube. When I opened the container, I didn’t see nice big oatmeal flakes! They turned out to be steel cut whole oat groats. Whatever groats are… (¹)

I made the granola with them anyway… It turned out fabulously.

I added some flattened rice to the granola as well – so there would be some flakes in the final granola. (We had the flattened rice for making “Poha” from A Memoir with Recipes by Shoba Narayan. Remind me to post about that!) Here is what I did:

Granola
based on “Grace’s Granola”

  • 2 c steel cut oat groats *
  • ½ c flattened rice *
  • 1 c unsweetened dessicated coconut
  • ½ c brown sesame seeds
  • ½ c wheat germ
  • ¼ c almonds, sliced
  • ¼ c poppy seeds
  • ¼ c sunflower seeds
  • 2 c pinch salt
  • ½ c 1 Tbsp honey **
  • ¼ c vegetable oil (I used sunflower)
  • Thompson raisins, for garnish ***
  • dates, chopped, for garnish ***
  • dried apricots, chopped, for garnish ***

preparation

  1. In a largish bowl, combine oats, flattened rice, coconut, sesame seeds, wheat germ, almonds, poppy seeds, sunflower seeds and salt.
  2. Stir in honey and oil.
  3. Spread thinly onto a large parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake at 225F for 80-90 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes until the grains are golden brown.

Serve with yoghurt, pepitas , Thompson raisins, chopped dates and/or dried apricots***. This granola would be a great topping for ice cream too.

Notes:
* The original recipe calls for rolled oats rather than oat groats and flattened rice (¹). Next time, I’ll use rolled oats, oat groats and flattened rice.

** I had forgotten how sweet this granola is! Next time I’ll use half the amount of honey. edit 18 May 2008: I made the granola again yesterday with rolled oats, using 1½ c rolled oats and ½ c oat groats. I also drastically reduced the honey and only added 1 Tbsp. The resulting granola is perfect!

*** Susan cooked the pumpkin seeds into her granola. I was worried that they might burn (although they’d probably be fine) so decided to put them along with the fruit into the bowl at the time of serving. I used to stir the fruit into the granola in the last 30 minutes (or so) of cooking. But I really wanted our granola to stay crispy in the jar so switched to using them as a garnish.

granola Because the granola ended up being so sweet, I’ve been adding it to unsweetened “Ancient Grains” cereal. (Have my tastes changed? Was it always this sweet?) Even so, we’ve almost finished eating it. It’s almost time to make more.

I contacted Jasmine to see if she knew where I could find rolled oats in Toronto. She too thought they should be available at any supermarket. We both decided that there had been a demographic study made to decide that our area doesn’t want rolled oats. One of Jasmine’s friends said that according to the demographics, our neighbourhood is “high non-Western”. Very interesting.

“High non-western”, eh? I have to say I hadn’t noticed. High Latino, high Polish, maybe. But the times they are a-changing and the demographic studies should probably be done again. (I have to say I loathe demographic studies, based on data retrieved eons ago, analysed by some ninny in a dusty office without windows.)

But I was in Kensington Market the other day and got them at one of the grains and seeds stores. The Health food store there also carries them. Then, wouldn’t you know it, on the way home, I stopped off at our no-frills (the same one that had NO rolled oats for so long) and there in the cereal aisle were “large flake oats – ideal for baking”. I looked at the ingredients on the package – yup: rolled oats and oat bran. Very strange. I would SWEAR those weren’t there before!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

About Oat Groats, Rolled Oats and Flattened Rice

¹ Isn’t the internet great? After looking at the photograph on the Cook’s Thesaurus website, I see that what I bought were Steel Cut Oats, aka Irish oats, Scotch oats, pinhead oats. (Hey, Jasmine! I’m a pinhead too!!) Steel cut oats are groats that have been chopped. And groats are whole oats with only the outer hull removed.

Oats are good source of vitamin B, anti-oxidant vitamin E, as well as being mineral rich. Apparently they are also good for reducing cholestrol.

Rolled oats are oat groats that have been rolled and flattened into flakes. (And judging from the look of our flattened rice, this is exactly what was done with the rice kernels to produce the flattened rice. Once again, isn’t the internet great?!)

Please read more about Oat Groats, Rolled Oats and Flattened Rice:

 
Hmmm, I wonder if steel cut oat groats would be good as a substitute for rolled oats in oatmeal cookies….

And bread? Oh yes, I’m supposed to be making bread with oatmeal, aren’t I? :lalala:
 

edit 1 May 2008: I did make bread using rolled oats, oat groats and oat bran. But there were several other ingredients as well, making it Multigrain Bread

4 Comments for Mmmm… granola” »

  1. Comment by Susan — 1 May 2008 @ 09:56 EDT

    My market has been out of bulk rolled oats frequently lately, and out of oat bran for quite a while — the effects of the ever-mounting food/grain shortage? I don’t know. Anyway, glad you found that steel-cut oats were good in your granola. It looks delicious!

  2. Comment by ejm — 1 May 2008 @ 16:57 EDT

    It’s strange that it is suddenly so difficult to find rolled oats, isn’t it? There are still LOTS of quickoats on the shelves. I wonder if it’s part of the “I need food that’s ready in five minutes because I’m so busy” syndrome. Because one does have to plan ahead with rolled oats and oat groats.

    And thank you, Susan, the granola IS delicious.

  3. Pingback by Taste T.O. - Food & Drink In Toronto » Blog-A-Log - Saturday, May 3rd — 3 May 2008 @ 08:11 EDT

    [...] Starting us off, Elizabeth at Blog From Our Kitchen makes some granola, using groats, not oats! Then Ferdzy at Seasonal Ontario Food makes a croissant pudding (like bread pudding) with streusel. [...]

  4. Comment by Jeanne — 8 May 2008 @ 09:23 EDT

    I think the universe is trying to tell me something – you are one of a few bloggers I read who have all recently made granola. And like with bread, the homemade version is always *so* much nicer than the mass-produced stuff. I might try and tear myself away from the garden this weekend and make a batch :)

    edit: I noticed that too, Jeanne. It seems like suddenly everyone is making granola. Maybe this is what is causing the shortage of rolled oats? (I need to make more granola too. Thanks for the reminder.) I’ll be really interested to hear what you do to make your granola. -Elizabeth

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