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Are you a “Granola“? I grew up in the 60’s with a mom ahead of her time who embraced whole foods. I remember making and eating granola long before it was cool. So I guess, I am a Granola, I’ve always loved the nutty, crunchy, lightly sweetened oaty breakfast snack. This recipe for soft baked granola is so versatile with a bonus for yogurt parfaits!
Word origins have always been interesting to me, as I was thinking about doing this post, I wondered where in the world did we get the word “Granola” from? Perhaps it’s a twist on the word “grains”, but while I haven’t vetted this article, it is certainly an interesting story on the alleged history of granola and how the name came about; actually born out of a couple cereal moguls you will still recognize today. Read it if you have the time.
Granola made in the Slow Cooker
Some might balk at the very first ingredient, it’s ½ cup of melted butter, you can use a good oil, I like Avocado in its place, or if you like coconut, replace it with same measurements of melted coconut oil. This makes a large batch, so don’t let a half a cup of any fat scare you away. Plus I use grass fed butter, well the butter wasn’t grass fed, but the cows that gave the milk were…ha!
How to Make Soft Baked, Chewy Granola
Lightly spray your crock pot with some non-stick spray, then pour in your melted butter* and toss in your 5-6 cups of rolled (not quick) oats and give it a quick stir. You can also wait and pour the butter at the very end.
*You can melt the butter in the crock pot, but it’ll take a bit. I usually melt my butter on the stovetop and transfer to crock.
Add a generous tablespoon (or two) of ground flax meal (or whole flax seeds if you prefer the seeds), my boys don’t notice the meal which is why I use that instead.
Additionally toss in a couple tablespoons of light brown sugar, this is optional, but I am making a Maple Pecan Granola, and brown sugar and maple go hand in hand. Pour in a couple of teaspoons of vanilla.
Likewise, add some Chia seeds (optional), but the more good stuff the better, no?! Every time I see a chia seed I am reminded of the Cha-Cha-Chia Pet commercials of old. Do they still have those? Recently I’ve discovered hemp hearts as well, they are delicious; raw, tossed in yogurt or in your granola.
Finally, add your sea salt, yes salt, it brings out the ultimate “oaty-ness” of the oats…yum.
Now, add your honey; good local raw & unfiltered honey*, is so very good for you.
THE 411 ON HONEY
Did you know that honey is the only food that won’t spoil? It has an indefinite shelf life if kept closed. It will crystallize and harden, yet all you need to do is place the container in a pan with hot water (not boiling) until it returns to its original honey-like state.
It does have bacteria in it, which is good for anyone over the age of 1, but this bacteria can be dangerous for infants, not that you’ll feed your infant granola. Although I know my mom gave me raw honey in my bottle when I was a baby…and I’m okay, I think, well maybe, it’s debatable!
Lastly, add pure maple syrup, the real stuff If you use maple syrup, reduce your honey by the amount of syrup you add. If only a few tablespoons then don’t worry about.
Give it all a good stir with a wooden spoon, it will start out rather clumpy as things stick to the honey and syrup, but don’t worry as it melts and cooks it will mix about.
Set crockpot on high and place the wooden spoon between the lid so that you prop the lid open slightly, this allows some heat and steam to escape while it’s baking.
Stir every 15 minutes for about 1 to 1-½ hours, being careful towards the end as it can actually burn, so watch around that hour mark.
Scoop granola into quart size freezer baggies (it will make between 3-4 full baggies worth). I like to keep one in the cupboard and the rest in the freezer, or give it away, it makes a lovely hostess gift or neighbor gift.
MAKING A YOGURT GRANOLA PARFAIT
I love serving these yogurt parfaits during a breakfast or brunch, they are such a fun, healthy and wholesome dessert, treat, protein packed breakfast.
Try it with vanilla yogurt, blackberries and pomegranate arils, a favorite combo of mine.
WOW! Give it a go and let me know what you think or your unique flavor combinations!
Choose a couple of pretty glasses for the yogurt parfaits; any glass will do (a mason jar, wine glass, martini class or pretty glasses or bowls). Alternate layers, starting with granola, then yogurt and berries, topped with more granola and finally a dollop of yogurt on top with a few additional berries.
Suddenly plain ol’ granola all dressed up and is looking a lot like dessert!
Makes a great gift too! I’d love to hear your take on it, what you combine to make it your own!
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