Granola is a favorite breakfast at many tables, including mine. I well remember my excitement when I first saw a recipe for homemade granola, and I immediately scribbled it down and set to work trying it. Granola has been praised as the perfect food staple, full of fiber and sure to keep you satisfied all morning. However, we all know that most granolas nowadays are loaded with sugar and not too low in fat (including the recipe I found).
((Top secret disclosure – I should not say it here, but this recipe can both be made into healthy granola and something like gluten-free grape nuts! Ok, I am not going to say more now, just keep on reading. Post continued . . . ))
So I early started experimenting with healthy granolas using coconut milk, but they never really hit off. My new granola would come from a totally different idea. One day, as I was experimenting with making glutenfree oatmeal wafers, I realized the wafers were rather crumbly, so my mom suggested we just crumble them up and use them for cereal – delicious! However, it would be too much work to shape biscuits to afterward crumble them up again when making future batches, so I decided we would just bake the newly invented cereal as crumbles in the future – and granulo was born.
Why granulo? Well first of all, I wanted the name to sound similar to granola because the product was similar, kind of like a cousin. Since I was taking Spanish classes at that time, I had learned that nouns ending with -o are generally masculine and nouns ending with -a are generally feminine, and I thought that since granola would thus be feminine in my terminology, it would be cute if my cereal was masculine, that is, ending with -o; so that would be granolo. Now, I thought granulo sounded nicer than granolo, and since this cereal is made up of oat-flour granules, I thought the name was thus perfect. At least, this was my reasoning for granulo!
While in the whole thing of experimenting with oat flour, wafers, and cereal, I realized at least two things, (1) since oat flour has no gluten like wheat flour has, it makes the tenderest wafers/crackers even when you use little or no oil, and (2) oat-flour also allows you to make crunchy granola with little or no sugar and oil! Normally, the oil and sugar (plus any added nuts and seeds) is what makes conventional granola crunchy. But grinding the oats makes everything different (the grinding is easily done in a blender or food processor). Now, the gluten-free oat flour makes small granules that need little or no oil to stay tender.
I like to add a little oil and sugar to this granulo, however, just to keep it on the granola side, but you can omit it if you wish – the granulo will just be more like . . . grape nuts! Do you know that cereal? So depending on what you want, you can use or omit the oil and sugar. The apple-juice concentrate also helps to add sweetness and flavor, but you can substitute water for a more grape-nut like cereal. And again, the cinnamon is there for flavor but can be omitted.
Now, when you make this healthy granola/gluten-free grape nut recipe (which I assume you will) you should make sure to crumble the dough into small crumbles. It is a little of a trick to get it just right, but if the dough is too wet, you will not be able to make small crumbles, so add some more flour; if the dough is too dry, you will get not granules at all, so add some more water. It is helpful to allow the dough to sit a little while before trying to crumble it up, as the oats will soak up some water and the mixture will thus become drier. Also, there will almost always be some dry oat flour at the bottom of the pan under the dough granules after you crumbled the dough – try to avoid it, but do not worry excessively about it, as it will alway be there to a lesser extent. When you bake the granulo, you will notice that this flour will start browning faster than the granules. Make sure to stir the granulo often while it bakes. You can also try to break bigger clumps apart as they start drying. It is hard to say how long the granulo should bake, as it depends on how thick a layer you are baking (i.e. how big dish you are using/how big portion you are making); the baking time can range from 30 min. to 1 1/2 hr. When the granulo seems nearly dry, take it out of the oven and let it cool. Often it will seem drier when it has cooled, but if it is not fully dry, return it to the oven a few more minutes. Let it cool fully before storing it in an airtight container or bag. You can mix in some nuts and dried fruit if you wish.
Now, enjoy you granulo with some vegan milk or on this super breakfast smoothie! So in conclusion, this granulo is the healthy cousin of granola, but it has inherited some grape nut characteristics. And depending on which cereal you like more, granola or grape nut, you can tweak the recipe to either side. Now, I will let you head to the kitchen . . . with one question: Which do you prefer (taste wise), granola or grape nuts? You can answer from you gadget in the kitchen – that's ok . . . but I'm waiting to hear!
Granulo – the Cousin of Granola
4 to 4 1/2 c. oat flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. water or apple juice concentrate
1 Tbsp. oil, optional
2 tsp. cinnamon, optional
1/4 to 1/2 c. sugar, if needed
1. Mix the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients and mix.
2. Crumble mixture onto baking sheet.
3. Dry in oven at 300° F for 30 min. to 1 1/2 hr. depending on the thickness of the layer of granulo. Stir at intervals when the edges start drying/browning. This will happen more frequently towards the end of the drying.
4. Store in airtight container when cool.
Scripture of the Day
Jesus says, "Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent."
Labels: Breakfasts, cereals