Tuesday, October 10, 2006

October 8, 2006: Muesli

While I thoroughly enjoyed my cashew ginger crunch granola, I didn't think it would be wise to continue eating such a high-sugar breakfast indefinitely. My mind started ticking over on making my own version. I find uncooked oats too chewy: it takes me at least half an hour to get through a bowl of them! Not an envigorating start to the day. My moosewood book has a baked recipe, but it involves both oil and maple syrup so it's not much of an improvement in the health stakes. Then I remembered that some health-food grainy things are sweetened with apple juice rather than sugar and thought I'd give that a go. I browsed the internet to get a feel for the right proportions of liquid to grain, oven temperature and baking time, then just had a go with what was in the house.

I've been eating jarred pears with my cereal and by this stage I had a jar of juice. I strained out the floating pear remains and had about 1 1/2 cups of sweet liquid. I mixed this into about 4 cups of rolled oats and left it sitting around a while to let the oats soak up the liquid. With hindsight, I'd suggest not leaving it for more than about 15 minutes. I forgot about it for an hour or so, and my oats had the globby, slightly jellyish consistency of porridge. Next I heated the oven to about 150 degrees (it's best to go for a low temperature) and spread the mix out in an ungreased baking tray.

Check it after 10 minutes. Stir it around, and chop up the big clumps with a spoon. Keep baking it, checking and stirring every 5-10 minutes, until it starts to brown. That'll take about half an hour. I found that the little bits were well-browned, but the bigger pieces were still chewy in the middle. I picked out the big bits and put them back in the oven with about a cup of chopped almonds and half a cup of dessicated coconut. Baking paper's a good idea, but I didn't use it before 'cause the oats were too mushy. I think I gave this mix only another 10 or 15 minutes, with one bout of stirring in the middle. By then the coconut and oats were well browned.

The result was mostly a success. The largest bits aren't completely dry, but the almonds give it some crunch. It's not nearly as sweet as any granola I've bought and the fruit that I eat with it does that job to my satisfaction. I'll try to keep this up and maybe experiment with different grains, nuts and seeds in future batches.

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