I found some mason jars and have decided to make homemade granola and store them....
I am looking for a recipe like the old school quaker oats....brown sugary, dark,crispy
I plan to put various dried fruits and nuts to my liking.......
but am seeking that ultimate clusters crunchy type texture recipe.
I make granola using maple syrup & brown sugar and while it's delicious, I've never gotten many clusters. Of course I've never tried very hard to create them - I'm told that if you squeeze little bits together with your hands you'll get clusters, but I've never bothered. Honey would be far stickier than the mixture I use, so it makes sense that it would clump better. I don't measure so I can't give you cups and tablespoons, but I use oats, chopped walnuts, little oil, brown sugar, maple syrup, a generous amount of "apple pie spice" (mostly cinnamon, with cloves, allspice, nutmeg, ginger, & mace), and vanilla. Mix it together, pour on a baking pan, bake for about half an hour at 275, stirring about halfway in. If you wait until it looks nice and brown and done it'll burn - take it out while it's still light colored and it will crisp up while it cools.
I constantly make granola for my B&B and I've learned two things pertaining to your post:
A) As pretty as it is to look at, granola didn't stay fresh for very long in jars no matter what kind of closure: screw top lids or lids with rubber gaskets and clamps. I now store my granola in gallon plastic zip top bags, squeezing the air out when closing. I put it in a pretty glass canister with a scoop each morning for my guests.
B) It doesn't matter what kind of sweetener I use (honey, brown sugar, maple syrup, boiled cider), The amount of crunchy clusters I get depends on how much and how thoroughly I stir it while the granola is baking in the oven. Same thing goes for the browning. My original recipe says to toast it for half an hour at 325 degrees, stirring every ten minutes but the results were more like a meusli. I now bake it at 375 for 40 or more minutes, gently turning it over every 15 minutes to get the clusters. You do have to be a little vigilant towards the end, pulling the pan out into good light to see how brown it's getting because it reaches a stage where it goes from dark, crispy to burned very quickly.
I make a gallon and a half at a time in my turkey roaster and I think that large amount and, like making bread, humidity conditions have a little to do with the amount of time it takes to reach the perfect toasty stage, but 40 minutes seems to be my average time for a batch.
This one should meet most of your requirements. I have made it many times.
Here is the recipe (paraphrased) for Granola as made by Campanile Restaurant in Los Angeles. This is really delicious. It is recommended that you avoid cutting the recipe and just make the whole amount, even though it seems like a large quantity, For extended storage, it does freeze well."
4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (don't use the quick-cooking variety)
3/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
3/4 cup unsalted raw sunflower seeds
1 cup coarsely chopped unblanched almonds
½ cup wheat germ
½ cup powdered nonfat dry milk
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup safflower oil
½ cup maple syrup
½ cup honey or malt syrup
½ cup dried apricots, finely chopped
½ cup dried figs, finely chopped
½ cup golden raisins
½ cup raisins
Note: Malt syrup is available at health food stores. In place of or in addition to apricots, figs and raisins, use 2 cups of any dried fruit you want.
Stir together the oats, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, wheat germ, dry milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and vanilla. Set it aside.
Combine the oil, maple syrup and honey in a small saucepan and cook, stirring, over medium heat until it starts to bubble, 3 to 5 minutes. Pour over oat mixture and toss until all ingredients are moistened.
Spread the mixture on a baking sheet and bake at 250 degrees 30 minutes or until lightly browned., stirring once or more as needed to avoid over-browning. The edges tend to brown first, so check it frequently. When lightly browned, remove from oven and cool to room temperature.
Loosen from pan in chunks and add apricots, figs, golden raisins and raisins. Store in plastic freezer bags or airtight tin.
NOTE: The original recipe specified a higher oven temp. but I found that it was way too easy to burn the granola so I reduced the temp. down to 250.
Thank you all for your recipes and suggestions!
I am curious of any of you have ever used coconut oil instead of butter or veg oil?
I have been reading about the health benefits that coconut oil has to offer...as it has gotten a bad wrap.
I just don't want to make a big batch and have it come out bad using coconut oil.
thanks for your input!