Monday, May 23, 2011

Sesame Honey Granola

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Let me first explain the circumstances that led up to this post.

Everyone gets food cravings. Right? I don't know about the rest of you, but when I have a food craving, it is usually for something that's most definitely not good for me. Like chocolate ice cream with a chewy fudge sauce. Or fudge. Or bacon. Or brownies. Or a spoonful (or three) of caramel sauce. Today, I got a craving for something healthy. That felt weird. I really, really wanted granola. And we didn't have any. I have seen several wonderful granola posts out there, and so I was inspired to make my own. I worked with whatever was available in my humble kitchen, and this is what came from that very successful experiment.

I have shared breakfast recipes before - my Never-Fail Pancakes Recipe, and my Oatmeal Streusel Banana Muffins to mention a few. But one thing I have not mentioned on my blog, is that though I love breakfast foods, and I love sitting down to breakfast, it is also the busiest time of the day for me. And so, I rarely find the time to eat a proper breakfast. All I usually eat before I get to lunch is a couple of crackers, or a cup of tea or some juice. Some days, if I am particularly hungry, I wolf something down while feeding my daughter her breakfast. This is not something I would recommend. I know that breakfast is the most important meal, and this yummy granola is hopefully my first step towards a healthy change.Yay, me!

After reading some of the fabulous granola recipes out there, I noticed that all I need to do is use a couple of basic ingredients, and experiment with the rest. And so I did. I must say that my favorite part of this granola was the sesame seeds. Oh my goodness! SO good, and SO good for health too! The walnuts were pretty yummy too. I named this granola 'Sesame Honey Granola', because those were the most prominent flavors.

One major change was the cooking time and temperature. I decide to start this project too close to breakfast time and so I didn't have the luxury of a 45 minute baking time. The proper way to bake this seems to be at 160-170 for 35-45 minutes. I baked it at 200 for 20 minutes. I just checked on it periodically, and it turned out just fine. If you want to be safer, you should go with the lower temperature.

Here is how I made my granola.

Sesame Honey Granola
2 cups oatmeal
1/2 cup sesame seeds
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped to small chunks
3/4 cup cornflakes
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1/4 tsp salt
a pinch of nutmeg
1/2 cup honey
3 tbsp melted butter
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup dried dates

1. In a large bowl, mix the oatmeal, sesame seeds and walnuts.
2. Add the cornflakes to this bowl. If the flakes are very large, crush the cornflakes in your hands as you add it into the bowl. You don't want it to powder, but you want it in smaller pieces.
3. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg ands salt and mix all these ingredients together.
4. In a small bowl, stir together the honey and the melted butter.
5. Pour in the honey-butter mixture, and stir well until all the dry ingredients are coated with the honey and butter.
6. Into the bowl that had the honey-butter mixture, add all the dried fruit, and just stir them together until they are lightly coated with whatever little honey-butter is still in the bowl. Set this aside.
7. Spread the granola out on a slightly greased baking tray. Make sure you spread it out evenly.
8. Bake until golden brown, stirring up the granola occasionally. I used a serving fork to stir it. Keep checking so that it doesn't over-brown or worse, burn.
9. When it reaches the desired color, turn off the oven. Then, take the tray out, add the dried fruits, and stir into the granola. Put the tray back in the oven for a further 3-4 minutes. The oven is still turned off.
10. Remove the tray from the oven, and let the granola cool, stirring occasionally even during the cooling time. When cool, break up with a fork and transfer to an airtight jar.

This is great with hot milk (my husband always eats his cereal with hot milk), or with cold milk (the way I like it). It also tastes fantastic just eaten dry, by the handful, straight from the jar.

Now, that I have given you a fantastically delicious and healthy recipe, watch out for my next post. I want to share with you my recipe (and honest opinion), of a dish I made for a Bacon-fest party at our home last week. Sounds wicked, doesn't it? It was an incredibly delicious pot-luck meal. I will post the recipe later this week.

UPDATE - Two new things to report. 1. On the days I eat breakfast, I normally feel very hungry within a couple of hours. But today, I did not feel hungry till it was well past lunch time. That's a very, very good thing in my book, because otherwise I end up snacking on stuff that's not so good for me.

2. I just had this granola with a small bit of ice cream for dessert. OH MY! It was super delicious! I feel healthier already... :)

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Gitusabu said...

That looks so wholesome and delicious! I bet the fruit, nut and seeds made it lovely!

Umm Mymoonah said...

 This is perfect for food craving and I love the nutty sesame flavour to this energy packed granola.  Looks awesome.

theharriedcook said...

 Thank you, Gitu! :) It really was yummy. There's more if you visit soon. And I mean SOON, because I don't think it will last long :)

theharriedcook said...

 Thank you so much! It was tasty, energy packed & very filling too! Thanks for stopping by :)

Beth said...

 Your granola looks so beautiful and colorful!  Thanks for sharing this recipe.

Manu said...

This looks soooo yummy!  It's great to see something healthy that is also amazingly tasty!  Thanks!!!!
BTW, there's an award waiting for you!  You can grab it here:

Inside a British Mum's Kitchen said...

What a great idea to put the cornflakes in - lovely flavors and combination, can't wait to try

Jill Colonna said...

 I think I need to join you and get out of my quick breakfast rut of toast.  Your granola looks and sounds delicious - love the sesame flavours in there.  And I could have it for lunch, too ;-)

Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets said...

 Love the addition of sesame and corn flakes to this granola as I often find store-bought granola too sweet and dense.  

Mary@One Perfect Bite said...

This really looks delicious. I love good granola and this looks wonderful. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

theharriedcook said...

Thank you, Beth! And thanks for stopping by :)

theharriedcook said...

I was so pleased at how yummy this granola was... Thank you so much for your kind words AND for your award! :) Really appreciate it! :)

theharriedcook said...

Thank you, Mary! Glad you used your site's name to comment this time. I can visit your site now :) Thanks for stopping by!

theharriedcook said...

Thanks, Jill! :) I see we are both just as bad when it comes to breakfast! If you love sesame as much as I do, you would probably love this! And yes, I could eat it for lunch too :) Thanks for stopping by!

theharriedcook said...

Thanks Xiaolu! :) I love sesame too & so it was perfect for me. And this granola isn't too sweet and has a little saltiness, which I love :) Thanks for stopping by!

theharriedcook said...

Thank you, Mary! I am a granola fan too :) Thanks for stopping by & I hope you have a great day too... 

Christy said..., you're guilty of sinful cravings!!:p But you made something healthy this time too, so, you are IN control;) Lovely and packed with nutrients and energy too, perfect for the booster and energy satisfying your craving:) Two birds with a stone, eh?:D

Kim - Liv Life said...

I have eaten granola for years and my husband always refused.  Yucky, he would say.  Then... a few weeks ago someone gave us some homemade and he loved it!  I made some, he didn't like it.  I bought some at the blogger bake sale, he loved it!  So I'm going to try this one and say that it was a gift from you... I'll bet he'll love it!!  Thanks for posting!  I had to laugh out loud when you said it felt funny to crave something healthy, I get it!

theharriedcook said...

It's so funny to read this, because right after I made this, my husband and I had a long granola-related conversation along the same lines - he basically said he wasn't a big granola fan, but he liked this granola better than the store-bought ones :)  Yes, those healthy cravings don't come by often and I had to make this granola before the feeling passed. Who knows when it might come around again :) Thanks for stopping by! Let me know if you try the granola!

theharriedcook said...

:) As a matter of fact, I felt very 'in-control' after eating a bowl of this. It was very tasty and I felt healthier and instantly stronger too (like Popeye and the spinach)! Thank you for stopping by! :)

Sandras Easy Cooking said...

Oh this looks and sounds amazingly delicious..wonderful pictures and great recipe! 
If I start about my cravings my list would never stop hahhaa
Have a great week sweetie!!

BakingSerendipity said...

I love breakfast foods too :) I've made a lot of different granola and granola bar recipes, but have never added sesame seeds to them before. I need to give it a shot...yours looks fantastic!

Nami said...

It's passed 1 am Marsha and I would love to get this healthy granola!!!  I totally believe you saying "super delicious".... Not only the taste, it looks colorful and beautiful too!

Lizzy Do said...

Oh, I LOVE granola!  And I'm going to follow your lead and add sesame seeds to my next looks fabulous!

theharriedcook said...

Thanks :) I am a sesame fiend, and tend to add it in too many things :) But it is such a versatile flavor, and is great in both savory and sweet dishes, right? I just love it! :) Thanks for stopping by!

theharriedcook said...

Thanks, Nami! :) This is something you could snack on at 1AM without feeling the guilt, I guess :) haha... Thanks for stopping by!

theharriedcook said...

:) You really should! It adds such an amazing, nutty dimension to the granola that only sesame can bring :) Thanks for your thoughtful comment and for stopping by, Lizzy! :)

theharriedcook said...

LOL :D I know what you mean! Thanks, Sandra!  hope you have a fantastic week too! :) Thanks for stopping by...

Peggy Labor said...

I just love the versatility of granola, don't you?  This version sounds pretty darn tasty too =)

theharriedcook said...

Yep! I love all sorts of granola combinations :) Thanks for stopping by!

Briarrose said...

What a healthy breakfast....bonus points on it keeping you full and satisfied.  I've been thinking about including sesame seeds in my next tasty.

theharriedcook said...

Thanks :) the sesame was really great in this granola! Thanks for stopping by! :)

sesame seed said...

This sounds great with the greens! And, if they're lucky, that's even better. The orange and

sesame dressing is lovely too.
sesame seeds
fennel seeds

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