Thursday, September 9, 2010

Maple, Date, Walnut Granola

DH and I love granola. We'll eat it with yogurt and fruit, with milk or even plain as a snack. It may not be low in fat, but it is healthy and filling and a little bit of fat is really important. The only problem with granola is that it tends to be really expensive. I've been hearing for years about how you can make your own granola, but all the recipes I have seen included a ton of ingredients I didn't have and seemed to involve a lot of steps and mess. It just never seemed worth it. Then I came across this. It described a simple, basic granola that you made in a skillet. I was hungry and really wanted a snack, but didn't know what to make when I found the recipe. I did a more basic version using flax seeds (which was what we had on hand) and honey that was somewhere between that recipe and the original. (I used 2T. butter, 2T local honey, 1c. rolled oats, 1/4c. flax seed and a dash of cinnamon if you are interested.) It was amazing, and what's more it only took 5-10 minutes. It was so good I started to experiment with what I had in the pantry and came up with a new recipe. It only took a few minutes and was super tasty. If you want to try it, here is the recipe. It is easy, tasty, cheap and healthy. What's not to love?

Maple, Date, Walnut Granola
1 c old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 c chopped walnuts
1 tbs. butter (though walnut or canola oil would work too)
2 tbs. maple syrup
1/4 c finely chopped dates
dash cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg
pinch of salt

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat and mix in the maple syrup. As soon as those are well mixed add the walnuts and saute them briefly (1-2 minutes). Add the rolled oats and stir to mix well. Sprinkle on the spices and stir so they are mixed evenly. Remove from heat, mix in the dates and then spread it on a cookie sheet to cool.

I like to give it 10 minutes to cool, but if you are in a real hurry you could pour cold milk on it and eat it sooner. The big thing is to make sure you don't burn your mouth on the hot sugar. This is one of my favorite treats, I hope you will try it too. You can also use honey, agave syrup, molasses or a mix of water and brown sugar as the sweetener and use any combination of seeds, nuts, spices and dried fruit that appeals to you. Enjoy!

ETA: This is now linked to Pennywise Platter. Check out the link for other tasty, frugal, healthy recipes and ideas.

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