Monday, September 12, 2011

5K granola

I've been eying this recipe for a long time. I actually tried it once a few weeks ago, but the granola came out as just a mix of oats and the other ingredients with no clumps. I did some research, made some changes, and came out with something that resembles more of a broken up granola bar. I could probably scale back on some of the things I added for maximum clumpiness, but it was delicious! Next time, I'll add a little more salt and maybe a little dry sugar, too, for texture and a tiny bit more sweetness.

Pre-5K, fueled by chocolate hazelnut granola!
I ran my first 5K ever yesterday, and I brought this granola to snack on before and after. It was definitely a good choice. I also ate it in milk as a cereal for breakfast this morning. It kinda resembles Kellogg's Cracklin' Oat Bran, which is one of my favorites but super expensive.

Here's my modified recipe. You can find the original chocolate hazelnut granola recipe from Food in Jars here. I've tweaked it a bit more, and I added my tweaks in red (as of 10/02/11).

1 cup cracked hazelnuts
3 cups rolled oats
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt (update: 1/2 tsp)
1/4 cup neutral oil (I used grapeseed oil)
3/8 cup agave nectar
1/8 cup hot water
1 tbsp oat flour (ground up oats)*
1/2 tbsp flaxseed (ground)* (update: 1 tbsp)
1 egg white* (update: no more egg, the additional flaxseed makes the perfect consistency)
Update: 1/2 tsp granulated white sugar

The starred ingredients are things I added to make the granola clumpier. I think next time I might cut back on the oat flour a bit, and maybe I'll only use half an egg white. The other variation from the original in terms of ingredients is that I used agave nectar instead of cane sugar syrup. Since agave nectar is sweeter than sugar, I cut it back by an eighth cup and added water to make up for it.

Some of the bajillion hazelnuts I cracked to get a cup,
with the shells in the bowl to the right
I figured out how to hold the hazelnut in the nutcracker
to minimize flying shells. I also covered this whole process
with a pillow, but some shells escaped.
Toasted, skinned hazelnuts in a bag, ready to be whacked
with a rolling pin
Cracked up hazelnuts
First, toast your hazelnuts (after cracking them if they're not already shelled, which is a HUGE PAIN). Put them on a cookie sheet for ~10 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, remove the paperlike skins from the hazelnuts to the best of your abilities and chop/smash them into smaller pieces. Mix all the dry ingredients together (hazelnuts, oats, cocoa, sea salt). 
Dry ingredients
Add the oat flour into the hot (almost boiling) water and stir very well. Add agave nectar, grapeseed oil, and flaxseed. Mix well and pour over dry ingredients.
Oat flour--ground up oats in the spice grinder
Wet ingredients
This step is self explanatory
Using your hands, bunch/mix it all up. I read that using your hands will help bunches form, though I definitely didn't have any problems with that this time. I wore gloves so my hands didn't get disgusting. Whisk the egg white lightly and add that in, again mixing by hand. Place onto a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper, spreading evenly and pushing down with your hands. Cook at 275 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 45 minutes.
Forming clumps with my hands
Egg white ready to go in
Ready to go into the oven
DO NOT STIR (this is another deviation from the original--apparently stirring is the main way to ruin clumps, according to my research, but do whatever works for you). Wait until the granola is COMPLETELY cool, and then break it up by hand and move it to an airtight container.
Out of the oven to cool
After cooling, breaking it up into clumps

The finished product!

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