Monday, April 26, 2010

Super easy, gluten-free oats granola

Many of my fondest memories living in New York revolve around food. Whether it's steak at the Strip House, artichoke pizza at Three of Cups, or caviar and blini at Pravda, my recall can be so vivid, I can still taste these gustatory delights. Breakfast, or should I say le petit dejeuner, at Balthazar will always be one of my favorites. So simple, yet so delicious, a bowl of plain yogurt with fresh mixed fruit and the best dang granola ever. It was about more than just the granola; I loved the atmosphere, early morning Soho, lingering over what seemed like an endless supply of coffee, reading the Sunday New York Times. The restaurant wasn't that busy at that time of morning, no long wait or reservations required.

I have been looking for a granola recipe for a few months now. It's next to impossible for me to find one that is just right, the perfect amount of coconut, the right kind of nuts, no dried fruit to pick out (we won't go there in this blog), and most important of all, gluten-free. Now, I could easily buy one of the gf brands available at the local co-op, but they don't always have oats (there is a huge debate still over the gluten in oats and whether or not it's okay for someone avoiding gluten), often have dried fruit (which I have to pick out) and well, I'm still searching for that granola that reminds me of the perfection at Balthazar. I haven't had the Balthazar granola in over a decade and really couldn't tell you what was in it, but this recipe is dedicated to my early mornings spent in that New York bistro.

Fortunately, I am a gluten-sensitive person who isn't bothered by oats. First, I had to find a recipe to follow, as I had no clue where to begin. I bought the ingredients before I found a recipe, kind of backwards on that one, huh?

Preheat oven to 250°

3 cups gluten-free rolled oats (I used Bob's Red Mill)
1 cup whole raw almonds
1 cup raw cashews
2/3 cup shredded coconut
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp vanilla
maple syrup
grapeseed oil

Combine oats, almonds, cashews, coconut, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Sprinkle sea salt over the mixture. In a measuring cup, pour in vanilla and approximately 1/4 cup each of honey, maple syrup, and grapeseed (or other similar) oil. Stir well, then drizzle over dried mixture. Combine well (use hands!!!), add more honey or maple syrup until appropriate stickiness has been achieved. Spread into well greased baking sheets (or use parchment paper). Bake at 250° for about an hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool, store in airtight bags or jar. Serve over fresh, seasonal fruit and organic, plain yogurt. You can even stir in a couple of tablespoons of ground flaxseeds for extra nuttiness and nutrients.

Feel free to add what you like to the recipe, including dried fruit or other types of nuts. Make it your own. Next time I'll add some brazil nuts, larger flaked coconut, and more stickiness so I can have bigger clumps of granola to munch on. If anyone wants to go to Balthazar and remind me of what is in their recipe, please feel free to do so. Don't forget to bring the Sunday Times.

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