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Creative Granola Spice Ideas

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I am working on mastering a granola recipe and I'm running short on ideas for good spice blends. I want to do something beyond the usual vanilla and cinnamon, but nothing too extreme since I will use the recipe for my blog (no spices that the average cook couldn't find).
Suggestions for which type of sweetener would be best, too. Honey, maple, agave, brown sugar, etc.

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  1. In as much that your granola is likely to have Oats for the "base" of the recipe, I am thinking along the lines of "what grows together, goes together":

    Sweetener:
    - Plain White Table sugar is always an option, though somewhat boring
    - Honey (always a good choice for everything)
    - Maple (very New England)
    - Golden Syrup (Think Scotland, the land of Oats)
    - Some Molasses, though I would recommend against Blackstrap Molasses
    - If using Coconut in the granola, you may want to consider Palm Sugar (i.e. Coconut Sugar)

    Spices:
    - Cinnamon (which you already mentioned)
    - Nutmeg, or Mace
    - Allspice
    - Cocoa Powder
    - Ginger
    - a little Juniper, just in the background

    Various Nuts, obviously:
    - Almond, Walnut, etc.

    Various Dried Fruits, obviously:
    - All the usual suspects, plus Currants, Gooseberries, Sultanas and Blackberries

    Some other flavors:
    - reduced Whiskey or Applejack (maybe even Port)

    Of course, do not use all of these things at once, but, hopefully there are a few ideas here.

    One last note, please soak your Oats overnight in water with a little Whey, or Buttermilk or even Lemon juice, to help reduce the Phytic Acid. To get the Oats back to the right (dried) consistency, simply spread them on a baking sheet (with or without parchment) and put them in a very low oven (say, less than 120-130 °F) for a few hours.

    4 Replies
    1. re: DougRisk

      Doug, I've never thought of reducing something like whiskey. Hmm. That sounds good. I've thought of cocoa too, that might be nice. If you soak your oats, do you need to redry them? What's wrong with using them straight? I've never heard of this.

      1. re: Honestly Good Food

        Oh, no need to re-dry them. Feel free to use them as-is after they have been soaked, as long as you discard the soaking liquid.

        1. re: DougRisk

          Now I am paranoid about phytic acid. Eeeek. I'm also feeling lazy and I've done a little browsing and found a few places telling me it's not a huge concern, just a minor one. I think we have bigger fish to fry in the health arena.

          http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tn...

          1. re: Honestly Good Food

            Another good article about phytic acid

            http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA400758...

    2. How about a little 5 spice powder? Or star anise? Not necessarily as the primary flavoring, but just something to accent the usual vanilla/cinnamon....

      1 Reply
      1. re: 4Snisl

        Oh 5 spice would be pretty good. I don't think I've ever seen it in our local grocery though. I might make some for myself but avoid it for the blog ;) I read chipotle some place, too.

      2. You can also change the flavor profile with the fat you use, too. I had some macadamia oil so used that for my oil. The flavor really came through.

        1. i use the pumpkin pie spice i buy at penzeys. i also use coconut oil and agave. and... i just bought some local bee pollen to throw in.
          what is the address of your blog? i would love to visit! :)

          1 Reply
          1. re: raygunclan

            I'm not actually allowed to post the address here, I've been told not to by moderators :) Oops. It's listed under my profile. Or just type my chowhound name honestlygoodfood inbetween www. and .com hahaha.

            God bless penzeys spices. Every time I go I spend an hour in there just sniffing stuff. They have the best smoked paprika. Maybe good in a savory granola.

          2. cardamom
            ground up freeze dried strawberry dust?
            coconut oil, various nut oil

            i've read that a chef is making this savory granola for like beet salads and things, i got that on the brain.

            whisky in my b-fast cereal? maybe not in the office...

            2 Replies
            1. re: jeniyo

              Cardamom was my first thought as well. Cacao nibs add a sort of savoury smokiness. I love to add dried figs to my granola. My favourite sweetener is maple syrup.

              1. re: chefathome

                Cacao nibs are a little hard to find here in the sticks where I live, although I do love them. Dried figs, huh? There are some of those in my pantry that I have not used up yet.

            2. Just thought of another flavoring- citrus zest! Lemon, orange, lime (with coconut and dried pineapple, it could sort of be like pina colada....! :) I'd stir the zest into the warm granola after it's baked....

              1. if you like ginger, try using molasses reduced with guiness stout as your sweetener, along with some powdered ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and some crystallized ginger

                i'm also a big fan of the combination of espresso and cinnamon

                also, vanilla and malt powder (or barley malt syrup) make an interesting combo with any number of other mix-ins.

                happy 'nola-ing!

                1 Reply
                1. re: Emme

                  Oh, espresso granola, could be sweet or savory, I'm digging it.

                2. I decided to go with a chocolate espresso granola with a little cinnamon and banana. It's really freaking good! But now I have about a zillion other things I want to try ;)