By Donna Erickson, Signal Contributing Writer
We’re a granola-eating family. When the tall jar in our pantry reads almost empty, it’s time to stir up and bake a new batch. It’s never a chore, because the fresh homemade taste of heart-healthy oats with nuts and dried fruit always satisfies, whether combined with yogurt and berries at breakfast, or sprinkled over a scoop of ice cream for an evening dessert.
No wonder I was curious when a friend suggested I make granola in my slow cooker instead of baking it in the oven. Skeptical, I gave it a try and loved the results. In fact, it’s a game-changer.
I stick with my basic recipe that never disappoints. The hand-crafted, economical blend is open to variations, like substituting cashews for the almonds or pecans. When I buy a jug of fresh local maple syrup, I leave out the brown sugar entirely. For variety, I’ll cut up something unusual, like dried persimmons, to toss in at the end with the raisins.
Tasty Slow-Cooker Granola
Cooking spray or olive oil
4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick cooking)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coarsely chopped whole almonds
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 egg whites, slightly beaten
1/2 cup raisins
Prepare the slow cooker: Spray bottom and sides of a 3-quart or larger slow cooker with the cooking spray, or lightly coat with oil.
Combine the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, salt and nuts in the slow cooker.
Stir together the oil, vanilla and egg whites in a small bowl. Add to dry ingredients and toss well until fully coated.
Turn slow cooker to high. Set a wooden spoon under one side of the lid to hold the lid open, slightly ajar. Cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until toasted, stirring mixture well every 30 minutes.
Stir in raisins and spread mixture on a baking sheet to cool. Store in jars or in an airtight container. Makes about 6 cups.
NOTE Substitute brown sugar with 1/2 cup maple syrup, honey or agave syrup, and combine with liquid ingredients before tossing with dry ingredients. In addition to (or instead of) raisins, use your favorite dried fruit, chopped.
Gift-giving tip et kids draw a label to glue to a mason jar. It might say “The Johnsons’ World’s Best Granola.” For a holiday gift, tie a colorful ribbon around the jar.
Donna Erickson’s award-winning series “Donna’s Day” is airing on public television nationwide. To find more of her creative family recipes and activities, visit www.donnasday.com and link to the NEW Donna’s Day Facebook fan page. Her latest book is “Donna Erickson’s Fabulous Funstuff for Families.”
© 2019 Donna EricksonDistributed by King Features Synd.