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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Granola clusters

This granola clusters was cause for my victory dance.

At long last, I was able to bake my first ever  batch of granola clusters without burning a single crumb. After many flops, misses and bin feedings, this was the most decent batch of granola clusters I have ever made !

'Decent' is a misnomer, because this addictive snack is so light and airy, we ran into the peril of over eating without even realizing it. In fact, the temptation to eat the next day's breakfast was overpowering.

The secret lies  in using the floury texture of steel cut instant oat to bind and form the much sought after light and airy granola clusters. No oil, no syrup, just plain old molasses, water and a tinge of unsalted butter. All that was needed were some stirring skills and lots of self control not to snack on the work-in-progress-granola-clusters  in between baking/stirring.

If there was one huge plus  in spending  time making  this snack instead of buying  over priced branded granola clusters, this was  it ; the waft reminiscent of spiced  cookies lingering from kitchen to living room for hours.

So if you would excuse me, I need to run. There's this urgent trip to the store for some ice cream to make good my granola clusters.

Dry mix :
150g instant oats, steel cut
1 cup assorted nuts ( walnut, almond, pumpkin seeds . I used raw cashew, which was a bit low on the crunch factor  )
1/4 teasp cinnamon, ground
1/4 teasp nutmeg, ground

Wet mix :
70g unrefined molasses
40g unsalted butter
27-30 g water

1/4 teasp vanilla extract
Pinch pink salt

Optional dried fruits : only to be added after baking

In a big bowl, combine and  toss the ingredients for dry mix. Set aside.

In a microwaveable bowl, mix molasses, butter and water. Microwave on high for about 1 minute, until mixture is bubbly and butter melted. Stir in salt and vanilla.

Pour liquid over the bowl of dry mixture. Stir well until every morsel of mix gets moistened.
Rest for 10 minutes. This helps form clusters.

Prepare a non stick baking tray. Preheat oven to 150C.

Transfer uncooked granola to tray. Stir to form an even layer on the tray.

Bake granola for  at 150C for 13 minutes.

Remove tray from oven. Stir granola gently , taking care not to break up clusters.

Bake again for  5 minutes. The finished product should be golden brown.

Cool thoroughly. At this point, add dried fruits if any.

To keep granola clusters crispy, store breakfast portions in small zipper bags.

Use it as toppings for ice cream, yogurt or milk.

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