I have done a lot of fussing with granola recipes. I wasn’t able to find one that I liked (crunchy, clumps that don’t dissolve at the sight of milk, not too sweet). So I was forced to fiddle until I found a method that I liked. The procedure I’ve arrived at is, admittedly, not the most direct. First the oats and seeds are toasted, then the whole mix is baked a second time at a lower temperature. Yes, it’s a little bit fussy, but the end product is well worth the bother. I was inspired to make this particular granola after baking some wonderful seeded German ryes. I thought that the hearty seeds and spices would translate perfectly into granola. The seeds also make this granola a perfect exemplar of a home-made, cost conscious product (nuts are really the only expensive ingredient in granola; seeds are a fraction of the cost). To really save money, look for a store that sells grains and seeds in bulk; they are almost always cheaper. While I have worked out several tasty granola flavors, this is the one that I can eat every day and never get sick of. It tastes like what those packages of whole-grain-oat-honey-seed-nut bread should taste like but never do.
The barley malt in this recipe gives it a hearty, bread-like quality. Look for barley malt on the counters of your health food store near the molasses. I like my granola with fresh fruit, but if you like dried fruit, go ahead and mix it in after the granola has cooled.
4T. butter, melted
1c. wheat germ
1 1/4 c. seeds (any mixture of sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, flax and poppy seeds.)
1T barley malt
1tsp whole coriander seeds
1/2tsp fennel seeds
zest of 1 orange (or 3/4t. powdered orange peel)
1/2tsp Kosher salt
1/4c. All Purpose Flour
Preheat oven to 350 F. Toss the rolled oats with the melted butter. Spread oats on a sheet tray and bake for 10-12 minutes. On a separate sheet toast sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds for 8-10 minutes. Stir each sheet once to achieve even toasting. Reduce oven heat to 300 F.
Prepare Seasoning and Sugar Solution:
Finely grind coriander and fennel in a coffee grinder or mortar and pestel. Bring the sugar, water, spices, orange zest and barley malt just to a boil and turn off the heat. Set aside.
Place oats, seeds, wheat germ, salt and flour in the processor*. (This recipe will fit into an 11 cup food processor). Process in batches if you have a smaller processor or are making a double batch. Pulse five or six times for a few seconds. Add sugar mixture and egg. Pulse the food processor until the liquid is evenly distributed.
Grab handfuls of the granola, squeezing and breaking the mixture into walnut sized clumps onto your sheet tray. Bake at 300 F for 30 min, stirring once — the granola might get a slight golden hue, but do not wait for it to turn visibly brown. Let cool. Store in airtight container for up to a month.
*If you don’t have a food processor, you can still make this recipe. The clumps will not be quite as solid, but you’ll still have a lovely granola. Just stir the sugar mixture and egg into the oats by hand.