Making granola is the type of baking adventure that just about any one with the IQ of a garbanzo bean could undertake, which could explain why a simple online search will produce somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 million various recipes. Perhaps this is why I find it so intimidating to approach – All those options, I can’t make up my mind! Even browsing the aisles of the grocery store, if there were no time constraint I could spend hours picking through the countless boxes. I still want to make my own granola, but for now I’m starting at the top: The most simple but still tasty sounding packaged granola in my reach.
I’m not sure how readily available this one is, as I haven’t seen it before this my recent exploits. It could be that I just wasn’t looking for it, but they don’t have a very informative website, either. The most information I could discern from my research is that Heartland makes four varieties of granola; Original, With Raisins, and then fat free versions of both. As you can see, I went with the basics and gave Original a shot.
Sifting through my generous bowlful, its appearance was nothing extraordinary or particularly remarkable, just like any other granola. Full of little clusters of oats, there is definitely no skimping in the whole grain department.
A first spoonful revealed a very subtle kiss of sweetness accompanied by a hint of vanilla; Nothing overpowering but possessing a very defined presence throughout the cereal. Not exactly your “light” breakfast, but very hearty indeed, it kept me satiated and energized for the whole morning. It had a satisfying crunch without being so hard and impenetrable as some other commercial granolas out there, still having a nice give after the initial bite. I didn’t try it with soymilk because I enjoy eating my granola dry, but I’m sure it would have been a pleasant match, especially with vanilla soymilk. I’m guessing it would probably also take the edge off of that uber-heathy “crunchy granola” feeling, and may make it more palatable for kids, too.
Being such a simple, basic cereal, it naturally lends itself to any sort of add-in you could imagine to make it a bit snazzier. Dried fruit, nuts, extra cinnamon (Because I’m a spice addict and all) would only make it more addictive. It’s a dangerous thing to have a whole box on hand – I feel like I might go through it in only a handful of mornings.
It also made me think it could be an excellent ingredient in many baked goods: A crumb topping on muffins or cobblers, part of a pie crust, I’d really love to play around with this stuff and try out some experiments.
I’m so glad that took a stab in the dark like that didn’t end up a disaster! I absolutely adore granola, so I’ll try to not use such extreme caution and be more willing to just grab the first thing that sounds good. I guess you just can’t go too far wrong with granola, no matter how you choose to go about it!