"Goals are dreams with deadlines" -- Diana Scharf

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Frugal Foods: Cocoa Crunch Granola

We eat a lot of granola in our household: granola as an after-workout snack, granola with yogurt, granola because it's Saturday night and we're watching 30 Rock on Netflix.  There were times when Mr. W. would buy these small, fancy pouches of granola that were $5.99 each.  The flavors had clever, crunchy names and the granola was delicious.  But they only contained about 3-3.5 cups so we would finish a bag of granola every few days.  It's amazing that something so inexpensive to make (it's mostly oats, after all), could be sold for so much.

But the man wants granola.  He should have granola, right?  It's not like he's asking for heroin.

One of my coworkers, who also loves to cook, mentioned how much she loves Ellie Krieger's Nutty Granola.  Hmm...if I could make granola myself, that would substantially lower the cost of Mr. W's granola addiction, right?  I tried the recipe and was glad I did. 

Ellie's recipe is quick, simple, and virtually foolproof.  It's also easy to modify if you want to experiment or have different ingredients on hand.  Her version uses lots of nuts and maple syrup...delicious, but pricey.  To keep the ingredients cost down and stretch the recipe further, I made a few modifications to her original recipe:
  • Added more oats
  • Used cashews rather than pecans (slightly cheaper)
  • Used a combination of honey and maple syrup

I also added cocoa powder, just for good measure.  Here's my recipe:

Cocoa Crunch Granola
  • 4 1/2  cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup raw, unsalted walnuts
  • 1/2 cup raw, slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup raw, unsalted cashews
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Spray two large baking sheets with cooking spray.  If desired, use a food processor to chop the nuts to uniform size.  In a medium bowl combine the oats, nuts, maple syrup, honey, cocoa powder, and salt. Spread the mixture evenly onto the baking sheets and bake, stirring occasionally, about 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool completely on a cooling rack, then store in an airtight container.  Yield: appx 7 cups, or 14  1/2 cup servings.

More money-saving tips: When shopping for these ingredients, I bought the nuts and oats from the bulk section at Whole Foods.  Also, this isn't a recipe where you need whole walnuts or whole almonds.  It's much less expensive, and a time-saver, to buy nut pieces.  Maple syrup is always pricey, but we purchased it from BJ's (it's a discount membership club, like Costco or Sam's Club). 

All told, this recipe costs about $6 to make.  Since it yields about 7 cups, it's half the price of fancy store-bought granola.  This savings seem well worth the minimal time and effort.  Plus, the kitchen smells wonderful while it bakes.  Yum! 

No comments:

Post a Comment