Monday, July 16, 2012

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Granola

I’m not sure what sparked the idea for making oatmeal raisin cookie granola, but I woke up the other day and it just sounded so good.  When something sounds good and I want to determine the best way to make it, I sometimes google my idea (for this recipe: oatmeal raisin cookie granola) and browse different recipes to see what has been made before.  Then I evaluate the methods and ingredients, determining which method I think would work best (based on what I know about baking or cooking), and which ingredients I might substitute for what others have used.  In this recipe, for example, I used honey whereas other recipes I saw used sugar or agave nectar.  I also used coconut oil where other recipes called for butter.  But that’s just me!  When you go to make this recipe (or any other recipe on my blog), think about what ingredients fit your dietary preferences or match up with what you have in your fridge or pantry right now! 

The main recipe I used for my inspiration was from Gluten Free Easily, a fantastic blog for gluten free recipes.  This was actually one of the first gluten free blogs I found and is still one of my favorites.  I thought gfe’s method of baking healthy oatmeal raisin cookies until they are almost done, then breaking them up and mixing them with other ingredients, was a great idea.  When you bake the “cookies,”  don’t be alarmed that they don’t actually look like typical cookies.   They won’t hold together well and will be caramelized on the edges.  This is what you want!  It doesn’t matter what they look like at this point because you’re going to crumble them up.

After I made the cookie dough for this granola, I put it in the fridge, and ran to Kroger to get some brown rice crisps.  Well, they were out, and I didn’t feel like going to another store, so I adapted and crumbled up some brown rice cakes.  It sounds strange, I know, but it really worked!  Next time I make this I might use brown rice crisps instead though, since I think the crisps would make the granola even crunchier.  I’ve learned that brown rice crisps (or brown rice cakes) are a great way to “bulk up” a granola and make it less calorie dense (just sub brown rice crisps for half the amount of oats you would normally use).  You could also just use regular or sweetened rice cakes OR rice krispies cereal if that’s what you have on hand!  And if you don’t use coconut oil, try olive oil or butter if that’s what you use.  Don't have walnuts or almonds?  Use peanuts, pecans, or any other type of nut.  Don’t feel like you need to go out and buy any special ingredients just for this recipe.  

At first I was a little disappointed with the taste (when it was warm) because the flavor of the brown rice cakes was pretty strong, but after refrigeration, the granola tasted just like an incredibly delicious and crunchy oatmeal raisin cookie.  I couldn’t stop eating it.  Luckily, Rem likes it just as much as I do, so I didn’t end up eating the entire batch by myself. 

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Granola

Inspired by Gluten Free Easily

¼ c coconut oil
½ c honey
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
1 T cinnamon
1 ½ c gluten free oats
½ c raisins
54 g almonds, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
60 g walnuts, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
4 brown rice cakes, crumbled

Melt coconut oil and honey for 20 seconds in microwave.  Let cool 2 min. (If you don't let it cool, the egg will become scrambled when you add it.)  Whisk in egg, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon.  Stir in oats and raisins.  Refrigerate 30 min-1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Chop walnuts and almonds.  Crumble rice cakes into very small pieces.  Place nuts and rice cakes in large bowl.  Bake cookies 8 min (should be slightly underbaked).  Immediately break cookies into pieces with spoon and mix cookie pieces with nuts and rice cakes.  Once mixed, spread this mixture back onto the parchment paper and bake 5-10 minutes longer.  Remove from oven and let cool completely on baking sheet.  Store in the refrigerator.  The granola may get clumpy in the refrigerator, but if it does just shake up the container it is in and it will break up again. 

Note: In a 2/3 cup serving, there are approximately 235 calories.   

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