Yogurt and Granola

Weekends have a new activity around here.  The little man is now big enough to help with cooking and our favorite thing to make is granola.  Most mornings we eat granola with yogurt for breakfast and, in my humble opinion, most grocery store granola is yucky.  We have been playing around with different recipes but for the last month or so have settled on this one.

Granola

1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup shredded coconut
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup unsalted butter (1/2 a stick)
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 tsp salt

2/3 cup dried cranberries

Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees. Mix first 4 ingredients in a big bowl. Melt the butter in the maple syrup.  Add salt and pour over the dry ingredients. Stir.  Spread the mixture on a rimmed baking sheet and cook for 20 min stirring and turning once in the middle.  Remove from the oven and let cool.  Stir in cranberries.

granola

Next up… the yogurt. This is based on instructions from Sunset Magazine (Jan 2012) with some adjustments provided by friends and family.  It’s hard to really call it a recipe since it’s 3 steps + time.  But, man, are the results delicious

Yogurt

1 pint whole milk
1 1/2 tbl. of yogurt you like

Special equipment – a candy thermometer or special magic MIL abilities

MIL way: Bring milk to a boil and remove from heat.  Let milk come down in temp.  If you are my mother in law you will magically know when the milk has reached the right temp (she is amazing).  Really, when I talked to her about this process these were the instructions she gave “Let it cool until it feels right. Just put your hand on the side of pan see if it’s the right temperature. Hmm… someday I should measure that but I’ve always done it this way”.  Like I said: magic. For those less talented in alchemy, I use a candy thermometer and waited until it hit around 110 degrees.

Friend’s way: Put milk in dutch oven and put the whole thing in a 200 degree oven until it comes up to 110 degrees.

Next, in a small bowl mix a tablespoon of a yogurt you like – I used half Strauss Farms, half Fage – and mix it with 1/4 cup of the milk, making a loose mixture.  Mix that back into the warm milk. Pour the whole thing into a container.  I used glass jars the first time and an empty plastic yogurt container the second time.  Glass jars are prettier. You need to keep the milk a little warm so the cultures can do their thing.

Friend and MIL way: Put the containers in the almost cool oven and let them sit overnight.  The oven will keep a little heat.

My (and Sunset’s) way: Put the containers in a themo lunchbag with a couple of jars of hot water.  8 hours later you have yogurt.

The tangy-ness of your yogurt is related to how long you leave it “growing”.  I don’t like my yogurt super tangy so I take mine out at a little after 8 hours.

Ok, I know it takes a lot of time but you don’t have do a lot in the middle.  Just let it sit and you get a super delicious breakfast:

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