Granola - what happens if you use less fat than a recipe recommends?
I'd like to make granola at home for my child, who is nut allergic, but the amounts of oil/butter I've seen in almost all recipes turns me off. If I were to add less, would the granola burn? Be otherwise negatively affected? Bad mouthfeel? Thanks!
I make the Barefoot Contessa recipe and I use no more than half the oil she recommends (sometimes more like 1/3). You do have to watch it as it toasts in the oven as it does brown quickly (though I think it would do this with the oil as well) but the taste is just great.
I've made it with no oil or sweetener before, simply toasting the oats and seeds. I liked it. My recipe has 1 c oil per 7 c dry, working out to about a tablespoon of oil per 1/2 cup serving of granola. Not that much.
I've made it before using pulverized dates but I can no longer find the recipe otherwise I would post it for you. If someone else knows of a recipe similar to this one, perhaps they could post it?
i mix together water, brown sugar, pinch of salt, and honey or maple syrup. I add oil, but not a lot. Then i toss it all with my oat/nut/seed mixture. Bake at 300°F. for about 20 minutes, but watch it carefully and stir once in a while so it doesn't burn. If you use more honey (decrease the brown sugar) as opposed to more oil as liquid, it will stick the granola together better. So it depends how you like it. Personally, i love the chewy clumps in my granola.
I've made granola w/no oil, and use a small amount of honey mixed with a half a can of apple juice concentrate (defrosted) to moisten the mixture. It's not as crispy crunchy as granola w/all the oil but it's tasty. Here's the recipe:
4 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup walnuts (but can omit due to allergy)
1/4 cup sunflower seeds (if omitting nuts, maybe add more seeds)
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
2 t cinnamon (or ginger if you prefer)
1/2 cup apple juice concentrate, thawed
2 T honey
2 T vanilla
Stir together oats, brown sugar, nuts (if using), seeds, coconut and cinnamon. In a small bowl, mix juice, honey and vanilla. Drizzle over oat mixture, stir to coat. Spread onto large baking sheet. The original recipe I adapted this from called for baking at 400 for 20-25 minutes, although I usually cook it at 250, but I can't remember for how long--an hour or so? Stir around every so often. Cool and then add dried fruit, if desired.
You don't need oil at all! I love this method of dry roasting the granola because it is so fast and easy. It's not a granola that you would eat with your hands, it's kind of like a mueslix, i suppose, but it's really perfect with yogurt and fruit.
Makes about 3 cups.
1 c. rolled oats
1/3 c. chopped nuts (of course for your child, you would omit these)
1/3 c. wheat germ
1/3 c. sunflower seeds
1/3 c. unsweetened shredded coconut (if you use sweetened, just reduce the sugar)
1/3 c. flax seeds (or sesame seeds)
1/4-1/3 c. brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
In a large heavy skillet (I use cast iron), toast the oats and nuts over medium-low heat until they begin to just brown (maybe 5 minutes?). Add the sunflower seeds and coconut. Stir until they are warmed (but not yet brown) and then add the wheat germ. Stirring continually, toast until everything is nicely golden. Add the flax seeds, brown sugar, and salt and stir until everything is nicely mixed. The brown sugar will melt slightly and coat the granola.
Flax seeds are one of the finest sources of Omega-3 fatty acids, but if you are interested in retaining their benefit, don't cook them because it destroys the Omega-3s. You can just add the flax seeds later. It's best if you grind them first in a grinder or with a mortar & pestle to get the maximum nutritional value. Nuts are also better served uncooked for the same reason, but many people prefer the roasted flavor so much they'll make the nutritional sacrifice.
Thanks for the tip on the affect of heat on flax seeds. Once I added them towards the beginning, and they actually popped all over! I don't think the flax seeds actually get cooked--just warmed a little when they are put in right at the end. But maybe I'll start adding them after the granola has cooled so I can get maximum benefit. Thanks!
I've used egg whites instead of oil before. Just keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn or get tough.
I've subbed reduced fruit-juice (apple cider or pear nectar work particularly well) and reduced the sweetener with great results. Final texture will be different, but delicious.
The fat makes the granola crunchier than it gets by just being dry-roasted. I don't follow much of a recipe when making granola...just toss in whatever's on hand (nuts, dried fruits, oats, bran), sweeten lightly with maple syrup and add a little melted butter. Feel free to reduce the butter/oil content to your accepted level...it just won't have that crispy-crispy crunch...oats will stay a little chewy.
I make granola once a week or so, and I've been slowly reducing the amount of oil in the recipe from 5 Tablespoons to 1 1/2-2 Tablespoons.
With less oil, the granola turns out with more of a crunch than a crisp, and I don't get the nice big clusters without the full amount of oil, but I like the flavor just as well.