There is something that has been plaguing me for about a month now, and I finally conquered it today! I know it may sound silly that a line cook with three years of culinary school can’t make a decent bowl of granola, but it is true. I have been working brunch at my restaurant, La Grande Vie, and my chef recently let me know he wanted to do a granola and fresh yogurt dish on the spring menu. Sure, no problem.
But I almost had to call a suicide hotline mid-April! Now, I might be old and don’t eat much hippie food, but I figured how hard can it be? Get some oats, add some sugar, honey, cinnamon, dried fruit and go. Turns out, it ain’t that easy, folks!
Granola, while delicious, can be tricky to make unless you know ratios and approach it with the proper cooking method. I personally did not have a good recipe, so I naturally went online—this is really what got me. Let me impart a small piece of information on to you that I WISHED I knew at the time. Almost EVERY recipe you will find for homemade granola online is wrong, mainly because of how they tell you to cook it! I had been mixing my ingredients together and cooking at a low temp, 225 degrees for about 20-30 minutes which is WAY too long. I kept achieving burned granola, hardened fruit, which is not appetizing. Instead, you need to cook it at 325 degrees for just 16 minutes.
One of the reasons I love working at The Chopping Block is that when I run into these problems, there are an array of chefs to help me. One day, when I was in the right place right time situation, one of our chefs happened to be making granola for the homemade cheese making class. I just about attacked her asking advice and got a full on tutorial, which I will pass on to you so you can also enjoy this lovely treat in the upcoming warmer weather.
First, heat up your oil, honey and sugar first, then add it to your oats before baking. I was adding these ingredients without heat which was causing my granola to burn because the sugar was in the oven for a long period of time.
Second, bake it only for 8 minutes at 325 degrees, give it a stir, then back in the oven for another 8 minutes. As you can see, I was cooking it WAY too long.
Lastly, if you add fruit or chocolate, this should be done after the baking process, then let it cool, give it a stir and you are on your way to wonderful granola. Try the recipe below out, experiment with ingredients and share your favorite flavor combinations here. Happy granola making!
4 cups oats
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup nuts
½ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup grapeseed oil
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 cup dried fruit and or chocolate