Saturday, December 22, 2007

Microwave Granola To The Rescue...The Fastest Gift From The Kitchen

At 9 am one day last week, I realized that I needed some baked goods... FAST. No time for cookies, banana breads or even muffins. So I turned to my world famous Granola. Regis and Kelly were on in the background and I had 4 batches made before host chat was over. Well, not exactly, but I WAS able to leave the kitchen well before RR came on at 10.

Plan to make multiple batches, because this is so good. Don't scoff because this is a microwave recipe. I'd put it against the finest baked granola. AND there is no extra fat (other than the considerable amount in the nuts and the tiny amount in the wheatgerm).

The microwave part is both good and bad. It's good because it's so fast. The bad part is that it's tricky to cook more than one recipe at a time. So for maximum efficiency, I PREPARE 4 batches at once, but COOK them one right after the other.

To cook 4 batches really quickly, I toast all the nuts together in a 10 inch glass pie dish - about 3ish minutes on high. Meanwhile, I measure out one recipe worth of the other dry ingredients 4 times into 4 separate containers. When the nuts are done, divide them into the 4 containers. You don't have to be exact.

Place the first batch of dry stuff in the 10 inch glass pie dish. Stir in the honey and cook according to the recipe. Pour mixture into a BIG container - a huge mixing bowl or roasting pan. Then place the next batch of dry ingredients into the glass baking dish. Add the honey, stir well and cook. Pour THAT into the first batch of cooked granola. Continue for 2 more batches. Add the raisins and dried cranberries. Stir really well and store in an airtight container until you've eaten or given away every last rolled oat.

The only tricky thing is mixing in the honey, which can be a bit of a sticky enterprise. I'm pretty particular and I like to to make sure that no oat flake goes un-honeyed.

(When I'm making four batches, I use at least 4 types of nuts. Each recipe calls for 2/3 cup of nuts, so I use two-thirds of a cup each of sliced almonds, chopped walnuts, chopped pecans, and chopped cashews.)

For gift-giving, I fill the granola into plain plastic bags, no zippers, strips or fancy stuff (they're not all that easy to find). Turn the bag, so the granola goes into one of the bottom corners. Twist the bag tight and you'll have a cone shape. Close with a twist tie. Tie with a ribbon and you'll have a quick, delightful gift for any deserving friend, colleague or neighbor. Here's the recipe for one batch of granola. (It's never enough.)
Sue's Awesome Granola
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1/3 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
2 cups old fashioned oats
1/3 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup raisins and/or dried

Place the nuts in a 10 inch glass pie dish or microwavable bowl. Cook on high for 2 minutes to lightly toast the nuts. (The time may vary with your microwave.) Stir in oats, wheat germ and brown sugar until well mixed. Stir in honey, making sure to coat the mixture well.

Cook on high in microwave for 2 minutes. Stir well. Cook up to 2 minutes longer, stirring and checking the mixture after 1 minute. (Depending on your microwave, it might be done.) Cool slightly. Stir in raisins and/or dried cranberries. Store in airtight container.


Emily said...

Were you in a hurry to get this made, so you could leave the kitchen before Rachael Ray came on??

I've never made granola in the microwave, but I'm going to try this. Hey, I have no complaints on microwaves. They're very handy. I've made brownie/cake mixtures in the microwave.
I think it all sounds great.

Sue said...

Yes, I was trying to avoid her. I was in the kitchen another day and she was on. MY gosh, she really is NO cook. Talk Show Host..adequate; Cook... abysmal failure. She was breaking a sweat making a beet risotto and the pan she was using was way too small.

With every stir, it looked like everything was going to go right out of the pan, which probably would have been a good thing for the poor people that had to eat that.

Cynthia said...

You are a God-send! I have been looking for the past 2 months for some nice small jars to put in the flavoured salts I'm giving out this year but could not find any hence the salts have not yet been made but I'll do them tomorrow and you know what? Plastic bags they are with pretty ribbon! I am going to write a little instructional card for them to be stored in glass jars. Thanks hon.

Merry Christmas to you and the family.

Much love.

Sue said...

Hi Cyn,
I'm so glad to have helped solve your gift idea. I LOVE the way the cone shape looks and nothing could be easier.

YOU have a wonderful holiday. Enjoy your family and I hope you get some down time...

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

That looks super-yummy. Have a wonderful Christms!

Emily said...

Ohh, RR. She's a funny gal. She has a new show that's going to be on.

Merry Christmas to you!

Sue said...

Shortie and Em,
Hope you both had a wonderful day!!