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« Getting Some Culture | Main | Chickpea Consolation »
Saturday
Jun092007

The Lip Lady's Secret Granola

 528314315_a9bda688d2.jpg

 

When somebody around me mentions Peruvian food, there are a lot of wonderful things that should pop into my mind. I could, for instance, think back to my first taste of tiradito, a refined take on ceviche that features nearly transparent slices of milky-white fish in an addictive chile-laced marinade. I could also remember Peruvian potatoes and their spectrum of shapes, sizes and colors, or the hot ears of corn with kernels the size of walnuts I would buy from the women who boarded trains in small villages, selling all manner of homemade snacks from large baskets. I could think about anticuchos, I suppose, the famous beef-heart kebabs I was too chicken to try, or the enormous Peruvian tamales stuffed with chicken, olives, raisins and hardboiled eggs. I could even think of sushi, considering I had some of the best of my life in Lima. But I don't. Embarrassing as it is to admit, my memories of Peruvian food are almost completely dominated by longings for the best granola I ever had.

I'll tell you the story. Seven years ago I went to Peru to conduct research for my Thomas J. Watson Fellowship. Although my main base was in the Andes (I was ostensibly researching Quechua language survival), I also did some traveling with an old friend whose visit to Peru happened to coincide with mine. As she had a particular interest in ruins, I agreed to accompany her on a long bus ride north to visit Chan Chan, the ancient mud city of the pre-Incan Chimu Empire. According to our guidebook, the best base for visiting the ruins was a sleepy little beach town a few miles away called Huanchaco.

Huanchaco was a nice enough place, quiet and easygoing by Peruvian standards, though it had gloomy overcast skies and the kind of lonely vibe of a beach resort off-season (it was the start of winter in the southern hemisphere). The guest house we chose, like the town itself, was also pretty dead; apart from us there was only a solitary Dutch backpacker and the owners, a local man, his petite French wife, and their toddler son who ran around waking everyone up with his screams at six o'clock each morning. The husband seemed perfectly nice on the one and only occasion we saw him; his wife, on the other hand, couldn't have been more unwelcoming if she tried. Not only did she watch our every move like a hawk, she complained about everything we did, from talking too loudly in the courtyard at night to not hanging our wet towels properly in our room. When she had nothing to complain about, she just glowered. And then there were her lips. I don't know if they had anything to do with her foul temperament, but they were at least three sizes too big; our speculations ranged from birth defect to Botox treatment gone wrong. In any case, though I'm fully understanding of the fact that hospitality is a tough business, that seeing different faces parade in and out every day can be exhausting and that any number of personal tragedies may have befallen her shortly before our arrival, this woman really should not have been let loose near paying customers. To us, at any rate, she was just plain hostile, and to exact our revenge (and, well, because she never told us her name) we started calling her the Lip Lady.

As much as we disliked her, though, I probably would have forgotten about the Lip Lady entirely in the intervening years—I mean, she wasn't that memorable—if it weren't for her granola. You see, apart from rooms, the guest house ran a casual café on its terrace, and along with the usual backpacker pizzas and omelettes they served the world's most delicious homemade granola. "What's in this granola?" I remember asking the young girl who waited the cafe's tables, but she had no idea. I could make out sliced almonds—or so I thought—bound together into light, crisp clusters with some sort of grain, but the rest was a mystery. I scrutinized it for days, trying to read its crumbly topography for clues, but in the end I realized there was only one way I was going to be able to reproduce this remarkable cereal at home. On the day of our departure, as I settled our bill, I took a deep breath, put on my brightest smile and asked the Lip Lady for the recipe.

To my complete surprise, she had only three words for me: "It's a secret."

Instantly I could feel panic swelling in my chest; I needed that recipe. "But it's the best granola I've ever had," I pleaded, searching her face for any shred of compassion. Surely she didn't think I was going to take her secret recipe and open up a competing café down the street, did she? I forced a smile again and said in my most polite Spanish, "Can't you just tell me the ingredients?"

She eyed me without expression for a long moment before shrugging. "I don't give away my recipes. All I can tell you is that I make it with oats, and that the recipe comes from Germany."

I was sorely tempted to grab her by her overgrown lips and shake the recipe out of her, but instead I paid my bill, cursing under my breath, and made a mental note of everything she had said. Surely if I looked long and hard enough I would eventually come across a recipe that yielded similar results... wouldn't I?

I didn't. For seven years I scoured every cookbook I ran across, spent hours typing search terms into google and quizzed every German I knew on their baked-cereal knowledge. I baked batch after batch of granola and tried every combination of ingredients and techniques imaginable, but none yielded exactly what I was looking for. There were plenty of good ones, of course, full of oaty wholesomeness and warm spice, but they were all lacking something, some elusive combination of flavor and texture I couldn't quite put my finger on. I started to question whether my perfect granola even existed. What if my memory had been playing tricks on me? What if Lip Lady's granola wasn't actually as good as I remembered it? What if I had romanticized it to the point where every granola I ate for the rest of my life would disappoint me?

But of course I wouldn't be telling you this story if it didn't have a happy ending. As it happened, one night a couple of weeks ago, on the fifth straight batch to come out of my oven in as many days, I finally cracked the code. It was a remarkably small thing that did it, actually—just a change in the type of oats I use—but it was enough; before it had even finished cooling I knew this was the one. I delivered a handful to Manuel to get a second opinion and was met with astonishment. "This is the best granola you've ever made," he exclaimed, and quickly inhaled half the batch. It certainly was, possessing every quality I have been trying to recreate for seven years: large, irregular clusters that retain their crunch to the bottom of the bowl; a light, crisp texture; a heady blend of vanilla and spice that conjures up oatmeal cookies and fragrant spice cakes. I'll be the first to admit it may not be an exact replica of the granola I tasted in Huanchaco—heck, even my tastebuds don't have that kind of memory—but knowing that actually makes it taste even better. It's my recipe, after all, not the Lip Lady's. And of course it's yours now too, because the last thing I would ever dream of doing is keep it to myself.


Seven-Year Granola

Okay, so what exactly makes this granola different? I'm no kitchen scientist, but I can point out the things that seem to have the biggest impact. One thing is the addition of oat flour, which helps the grains and nuts stick together into those much-coveted clusters. Another is the use of sugar; as much I like liquid sweeteners like honey and maple syrup, they seem to produce a tougher, chewier granola. Finally, the right kind of oats are essential. For years I only baked with regular rolled ('old fashioned') oats because that's what recipes called for, but as soon as I switched to the smaller, thinner 'quick oats', the changes were remarkable—clusters formed, everything baked faster, and the texture became exquisitely light and crunchy. If you can't find quick oats where you live—and I have lived in a few places where oats come in one variety only—here's what I would do: pulse rolled oats in a food processor a few times to break them down to about half their original size. It won't be exactly the same but it will come close.
Yield: about 8 cups

1 lb. (450g) quick oats*
3 cups (750ml/about 300g) coarsely chopped raw nuts and/or seeds (I usually use a mixture of almonds, hazelnuts and pumpkin seeds, but use whatever tickles your fancy)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground mace
(or nutmeg)
1 cup, packed (200g) dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (115g/1 stick) unsalted butter
1/3 cup (80ml) water
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
dried fruit, at your discretion


*if you're not familiar with the difference between quick and regular (also called 'old fashioned') rolled oats, take a look at the pictures here

Preheat the oven to 300F/150C. In a food processor, coffee grinder or blender, grind half the oats to a fine powder. In a large bowl, combine the whole oats, ground oats, nuts, seeds and spices. In a microwave-safe bowl (or in a saucepan over medium heat), combine the brown sugar, butter and water and heat just until the butter has melted and the mixture is bubbly. Stir the mixture together until smooth, then stir in the salt and vanilla. Pour this mixture over the oats and nuts, stirring well to coat (I usually do this with my hands). It should be uniformly moist - stir in another tablespoon or two of water if it isn't. Let stand for about ten minutes.

Spread the mixture out on a large baking sheet, separating it into irregular clumps with your fingers, and allowing space between the clumps for the hot air to circulate. Slide into the middle of the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven and stir, gently breaking up the mixture into small-to-medium sized clumps. Return to the oven and bake another 15 minutes or so before stirring again. Repeat the bake-and-stir until the mixture is a uniform golden brown and completely dry; this usually takes 1-1 1/2 hours. Cool completely, then stir in any dried fruit you want to use.

Store in a covered container at room temperature. Serve with milk or plain yogurt and fresh fruit as desired.

 

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Reader Comments (68)

Thanks! I'll have to try this... my weekday breakfasts for the past year have consisted of home-baked granola, and I've almost settled with a recipe of my own, but yours sounds interesting.

June 9, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterBenas

what a lovely post and recipe!

June 10, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterKat

How interesting! I make granola once a week, because we have it for breakfast every morning. Your method is quite different from mine, Rolled oats, rolled rye flakes, chopped almonds, a mixture of cinnamon, vegetable oil, golden syrup (or honey) and water. Only 20 - 30 minutes in the oven. Then I add finely chopped dried apricots.

June 10, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterKarin

The sweet taste of victory! You must be so pleased, to have found the secret after all this time. I don't like granola at all, but you've got me tempted to try this one. If there was ever a granola to woo me back to the fold, sounds like this would be the one. Congratulations.

June 10, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterTea

Will give it a shot...sounds good. (Cardamom...mmm.)

June 10, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterEllen

Melissa,

If I were to go through my recipe files, I have no doubts that I have more clipped recipes for granola than any other iterm combined.

What is it about granola that obsesses us?

But I see I shall be bookmarking another one to try!

As always such a wonderful post and your description of The Lip Lady is just too funny.

June 10, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterIvonne

I'd bet they put coconut oil in it down there, which was why it was so good. Your addition of butter is certainly a French touch which the Lip Lady would certainly approve of. (Er...or maybe not..)

June 10, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

Great story! And the recipe sounds fabulous...I will most certainly try this.

June 10, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterCulinary Cowgirl

Your recipe looks so delish. Another must-try recipe! Thank you for sharing your secrets with us.

June 11, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJIll

wow, wow, wow that is a beautiful picture! I think that is one of my fav so far in my year of food blogging.

Shayne

June 11, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterShayne

Your post inspired me to try making homemade granola. I used your recipe, but substituted ground flax seed for the oat flour. It served the same textural purpose, but brought a nutty flavor, extra fiber, lignans, and omega-3s to the mix! My wife and I are looking forward to enjoying it on our yogurt for many mornings to come :-)

June 11, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterDominic

What a beautiful picture and recipe!

June 11, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterburcu

This sounds like a fabulous recipe. I've tried several disastrous recipes, but I'm hopeful about yours. Thanks you for sharing it!

June 12, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterLynn

As a fellow granola-lover, I'm really excited about this recipe. But as a person allergic to tree nuts and most seeds, I'm kind of at a loss as to what I might be able to substitute. Are the chopped nuts essential to this recipe, and if not, what might I be able to substitute?

June 12, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterKate

I've always believed in being generous in sharing my recipes...for I learned those recipes from someone else. Just trying to do my job of sprinkling love, joy and ancient secret family recipes to the world.

xoxo
steamy kitchen

June 13, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterSteamy Kitchen

Wow. I spent quite a lot of time in Peru, and particularly in Huanchaco, many years ago. That was where I learned to make the best ceviche of my life: in a seaside hut from a fisherman's family who still fished the old way, on the caballitos de totora, the fishing canoes made of bundled reeds. When I was there, there were no pensiones run by Europeans -- only barebones sorta places where you could stay for the equivalent of about 50 cents a night -- but for another quarter, the señora of the house would cook you an egg in the morning to have with your fresh roll and cafe con leche. So I never ran into your cranky liplady, but I'm certainly thrilled to try your granola, which sounds absolutely delectable to me. Thanks for this recipe, Melissa.

June 13, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

That photo is really lovely. I love the blues.

June 15, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

Thank you! Thank you som much for this kind of granola recipe. I have been looking for months now for a crunchy,sticky granola like this. You are right about the old fashioned oats.I had the same experience.

June 15, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterRose

People who are ,uh, retentive, with their recipes are a strange lot. My theory (or one of my theories, anyway) is that they think of the recipe as sort of magic, believe others are always trying to steal something, and feel like if they do give their recipe away, it will be gone, and they won't be able to do the magic anymore themselves.

Such a person would, of course, be both unusually distrustful of others, and grossly lacking in ordinary self-confidence. In short, I'm just so mad that they won't tell me how they make their special granola, or whatever, that I tell myself they have a personality disorder! Maybe it should be called "lip lady" syndrome. (Actually, I think it might just be called, "selfish" or "stingy".)

June 15, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterlindy

From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for both your willingness to put up with the Lip Lady and your kitchen-detective skills. This granola looks so marvelous that I'm half-tempted to walk out into the driving thunderstorm currently pounding my neighborhood just so I can get some oat flour. :) Thank you, dear Melissa, thank you.

June 16, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterBakerina

Hi Melissa,
what a gorgeous granola - i've also been looking for the *perfect* recipe that would give beautiful 'clusters'. Im sure yours will totally fulfill my needs.
xxx
- fanny

June 18, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterfanny

Yahooooo! I did it! I did it! and it was just what I was looking for: Crisp, so fragrant and just perfect for breakfast with my bowl of milk. Thank you so much Melissa, you saved my breakfast. Have a great week.

June 18, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterRose

Thank you, dear commenters! And please don't forget, if you give this recipe a try, to report back here with your opinions, suggestions, etc. I appreciate them all.

Tea - Is it possible, someone who doesn't like granola? Pardon me for asking, my dear, but what's not to like?? Sugar, butter, spices...mmm. Does it, by any chance, have associations with a certain too-healthy upbringing? ;)

Ivonne - What is it about granola? I'm just glad to hear I'm not alone in my obsession. Do let me know how it compares to your truckload of other recipes. :)

David - Hmm, coconut oil? It never occured to me. Coconut palms are pretty scarce around Huanchaco (actuall all vegetation is pretty scarce), but I suppose she could have had some carted over the Andes by mule or something...

Shayne - Thank you, I'm blushing :)

Dominic - What a great idea! I'd been mulling over how to improve the health profile a bit without sacrificing all the great flavor and texture. I'll definitely throw in some flax meal next time.

Burcu - Thank you!

Kate - By all means make it without the nuts -- they add texture and taste, but the granola will still be great without them. The only thing I might change is the amount of sweetening, but you can easily adjust that to your taste. At any rate, play around with it and let me know what you think! (p.s. what about coconut?)

Steamy Kitchen - Amen! I couldn't have said it better myself.

Julie - You are certainly a well-traveled woman, my dear! And I almost wish I had come away from Huanchaco with a great ceviche recipe instead of a granola obsession. Someday you'll have to show me how it's done, alright?

Bakerina - You're so sweet. But for heaven's sake, don't thank me until you've tried it! ;)

Lindy - Well said. I can't for the life of me understand people like that. Do they think they'll have no value in this world anymore once they give away their secret formulas? Well, luckily there are food bloggers to set the karmic recipe-sharing balance right again. (Imagine trying to keep a food blog while being that stingy!)

Fanny - Another cluster lover! Let me know if it meets your (undoubtedly very high) granola standards. :) Are you back in France, by the way?

Rose - Yay! I'm so happy it was everything you were hoping for. It's great to know I'm not the only one with very, um, specific granola tastes. :)

June 18, 2007 | Registered Commentermelissa

Melissa, I share your pain. I hate secret recipes. There are a couple I've wanted from local restaurants. A generous owner shared one with me a few months ago, but the other, I fear, is lost -- the restaurant shut down a couple of months ago. Your perseverance is commendable, I would've given up a long time ago.

June 20, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterrob

Bravo to the Lip Lady!
Melissa, this is a masterpiece of a recipe. My house smells of cinnamon, cardamom and mace...with an oaty goodness that must make the angels sing.
I bought a bag of granola at the farmers market this weekend for an outragous price and realized that I could do much better. I made your granola...with golden flax seed instead of oat flour and was amazed and delighted. I added all sorts of lovely dried fruit...cherries, blueberries, raisins, dates...and have been over the moon since and looking forward to breakfast which is quite unusual.
This morning I mourned the last bit of granola...as I gave some away and I live with my brother and he has been endulging as much as I. I came home this evening and he was vigourously making a double batch. No flax seed but glorious none the less.
Now we are contemplating making homemade yogurt, to go with the granola. I need to ask...does the obsession ever end?
The farmers market granola is sitting on my shelf in shame.
Thank you for sharing.

June 21, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterCin

hi Melissa!

I just made a batch and am eating it with yoghurt as I am typing this!! It tastes so much like a dessert and a treat!!!

thanks for sharing!!!

June 22, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterioyces

I tried this granola this weekend and it was wonderful! I couldn't stop nibbling on it. The only thing I would add is some kind of taste contrast. Like dried sour cherries to counteract the fairly uniform nuttiness. I will be blogging about it shortly. I also made the butter. My mom loved it!

June 26, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterkitarra

This granola is sooo good. I made some on the weekend and have been eating it with yoghurt and stewed rhubarb, now I think I will have to make a second batch. Very nice indeed- thank you.

June 26, 2007 | Unregistered Commenteremily

I've been making my own granola for a while now (always with a mix of quick oats and a rolled oats, bran, flax seed mix I found) and my wife and I were doing a "cleanse" of sorts after a hedonistic cruise where... well, we ate... it was a cruise. Anywho, I couldn't use sugar. I like Maple syrup and honey, but wanted something different. It took some experimenting, but I found adding apple juice worked wonders. It made the pre-baked mixture more moist than I wanted and I had to experiment. the first batch was CHEEEEEEWY. But after some more trials I managed to get it and it's ridiculously tasty, has a hint of apple, it's sweet and it has no sugar. I'm going to try your recipe because it sounds absolutely fantastic!

June 26, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterChris

Cin, loyces, kitarra and emily - I am so happy to hear you liked it! Let me know if you make any changes that you think are worth repeating. Dried fruits are of course a great idea - I'm personally a fresh-fruit gal but the thought of sour cherries and plump dates has me salivating.

June 30, 2007 | Registered Commentermelissa

Hi Melissa,

The granola looks absolutely tempting and I would love to make it were it not for the dearth of ingredients where I live. Just a couple of questions though:

When you say quick oats, can Quaker's Oats be considered quick oats?

And what exactly is ground mace?

Thanks in advance and I am glad you pursued perfecting your granola recipe because I am confident it is absolutely gorgeous!

July 5, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterChris

Hi Chris - Quaker Oats actually come in different varieties, though if you only have access to one kind it is probably the regular rolled kind. Quick oats are characterized by being very light and thin, and like the name says, they cook much more quickly than regular oats.

As for mace, it is the outer lacy covering of the nutmeg fruit. Here is some more info: http://www.mccormick.com/content.cfm?id=8220

Good luck!

July 5, 2007 | Registered Commentermelissa

I discover your blog, your pictures are amazing !

July 15, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterclairel

Just in case anyone was thinking of making substitutions... I made mine with coconut oil instead of butter and Rapadura instead of brown sugar, and only 1/3 and 2/3 cups of each (reduced since I used fewer nuts). It came out tasty, although not very sweet. But I didn't get clumps, only individual flakes for the most part. That always happens to me when I make granola!! I just don't have the clump thing figured out yet. Too much stirring perhaps?

July 16, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterKatie

What a fantastic story and what sounds like a fantastic recipe. I have only made granola three times and so you might have saved me seven years or so...

July 17, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterErin

Totally yummy. I love the spice combination. I made this last weekend and it is the hit of the household. The grandkids beg it for snack. I threw in some dried wild blueberries, too. Thanks for all your effort. It was well worth it.

July 18, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterDrJudy

For the three cups of nuts (yuk!), I substituted:

1/2 c dried blueberries
1/2 c dried cranberries
1 3/4 c dried mango (chopped/diced/minced)
1/4 c flax seeds

It's fab -- thanks!

July 18, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterArlcova

God bless you and your seven year quest. I too had the most incredible granola in Oaxaca at a bed and breakfast run by a woman who also owned the best restaurant in town and had a cooking school. While she parted with several recipes, the granola recipe remained elusive. I made your recipe last week and, while it is not exactly what I had in Mexico, it has the same light, crispy texture I remember. I will continue to experiment with the nut/seed mixture I use, but I will be more than satisfied to make this again and again. Thanks!

July 23, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterBecky

Melissa

It's really wonderful when someone takes so much care to investigate the best way to make something. I've just moved (back)to Edinburgh and I couldn't find any oat flour. Could you possibly tell me where I can get some and it'd be great if you could also recommend some good food stores in Edinburgh (I live in Tollcross).

Thanks again
Andrea

August 7, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea

Melissa-

I absolutely love your granola recipe and have turned many friends on to it. One question: it's often hard to find oat flour and I'm wondering if you know how the recipe would be impacted if I used oat bran instead?

October 5, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterLaurie Sabol

Laurie - Oh, music to my ears! I'm so glad you like it. I actually just changed the recipe because a lot of people seemed to be confused by the oat flour. When I make this myself I just grind oats in a food processor, coffee grinder or blender. It's really easy. If that's not an option for you, though, some people have reported successfully substituting flax seed meal for the oat flour. You could even try white or whole wheat flour. The important thing is that the mixture 'clump' when wet, and for that reason I'm not sure if something coarse like oat bran would work, but really, I'm just speculating.

October 5, 2007 | Registered Commentermelissa

Melissa

Thank you for the fantastic recipe. I made it this past weekend, and it was everything you said it would be: light, crisp, highly aromatic and delicious. I added toasted pine nuts, almonds and dried fruits to the mix. It's a hit around the house and with all my friends - there's only barely a handful left in the pantry!

November 29, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAC

What a great recipe and there aren't many breakfast recipes out there are there?

This is simple enough to try and I'd like to see how close this comes to "Quaker's Harvest Crunch".

January 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPeter

just made this and tried it. i had no idea granola could taste THIS good.i will never ever buy the packaged stuff again!!

February 23, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterpriya

Fantastic granola! Using quick oats really does make a difference in the final texture, and it's a little easier to chew, in my opinion. I also love the cardamom which is a spice I have regretfully never tried using in granola. I too replaced some of oat flour with ground flax seeds, and replaced the butter with a coconut/sunflower oil mix, it worked out beautifully. Thank you very, very much for sharing your wonderful recipe.

P.S. I think liquid sweeteners would work well here if the amount of water is reduced (or eliminated depending on the sweetener). If using honey, I would use less than 1 cup because honey is sweeter than sugar.

March 1, 2008 | Unregistered Commentersm

I don't have a scale, and my quick oats come in a 2lb 10oz container. How many cups do you think your pound of oats comes to? 3?

October 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLindsay

Lindsay - I looked it up on the GourmetSleuth ingredient database (a fantastic resource, btw) and they say it's a little more than five and a half cups. I would go ahead and use six!

October 18, 2008 | Registered Commentermelissa

This granola ROCKS! Thank you for sharing, Melissa!

I made half the recipe last night and only added a handful of almonds I had lying around and no dried fruit. I didn't have oat flour, so I just blitzed half of the quick oats in the food processor. Instead of vanilla extract, I used orange blossom water. Wow! That worked really well with the cardamom and nutmeg (no mace). If you're omitting the nuts (and dried fruit), you'll need to increase your sugar (I used 110g for half the recipe).

I loved this granola so much that I made another batch this morning!

One quick question: I would love to add some coconut - I have some finely grated unsweetened coconut (the type you use to make macaroons) - but I'm worried it's too fine and might burn in the oven. What kind of coconut would you recommend?

December 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterNatalie

Hi Natalie, so glad you like it! Re: the coconut, I don't think you need to worry about it burning in the oven. I've put things like sliced almonds and sunflower seeds in the granola, both of which burn very easily on their own, and they've come out fine after an hour and a half in the oven. Just make sure everything is well mixed before baking.

December 6, 2008 | Registered Commentermelissa

Well, I finally got around to making this granola after reading this post ages ago! I usually make a "Christmas granola" around this time of year with dried cranberries, cashews and whatever seeds I have on hand. I package it in cellophane bags and tie a pretty red bow. Voila! the perfect present for the person who has everything.

I was intrigued by the story of the lip lady enough to break away from my usual recipe (which features old-fashioned oats, generous amounts of oil and honey) and try this one instead. Unfortunately the results were not the ones I'd hoped for. What I made resembled Grape Nuts cereal. Dry little unattractive pebbles. (And yes, I did follow the recipe faithfully, even down to the oven temp. Also I have freestanding oven thermometer and also used a reliable electronic scale). So, I'm going back to my old recipe having learned my lessons: 1.) Never break away from something that already works well. 2.) Stay away from instant oats.

December 31, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCLF

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