Congratulations to the winner of Autumn Giles' Beyond Canning book: #14 Sheila! Sheila, please email me your particulars and I'll be in touch. I hope you'll give canning a go after you read this book, and it has plenty of information for new canners as well!
One thing that I don't think Autumn even made a mention of in Beyond Canning is that she is unable to have gluten. Gluten intolerance and sensitivity has definitely hit the mainstream, but for those with celiac disease like Autumn, gluten is not even a consideration. Whatever your feelings about those who choose not to eat gluten on a regular basis, in my opinion it's more of a flavor choice to consider other options. So many alternatives to wheat are just more interesting and flavorful, like these crackers for instance which I'm going to make later today...
Some things, like granola, are inherently gluten-free. Oats are naturally free of gluten, but are sometimes processed in facilities that handle other grains. If you are not able to have any gluten, it's best to purchase certified gluten-free oats processed in a gluten-free environment.
My house has been box cereal free for going on 5 years (except for the occasional "treat" for my boys), so granola is a very good thing for me to have on hand in the cupboard. My oldest son used to eat a steady diet of granola, but as my resident picky eater, he grew out of it - or maybe just grew tired of it - and hasn't been convinced of eating it in a long time. He also used to eat more peanut butter than is probably recommended for a kid, every day, for what seems like (and probably was) years. Then, without warning, he was over peanut butter as well. Until I brought these two things together, I was convinced he would never eat either again.
This has become our staple granola; it's one I've been making weekly for several months. Sweetened with a bit of maple syrup and even without using exact measurements (sometimes I can't be bothered with that), it always bakes up extra crunchy with a few clumpy bits that always get picked out and eaten first. It's a granola that can continue to adapt with you too.
Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Granola
(yields about 1 1/2 quarts)
- 1 quart (4 cups) rolled oats
- 1/2 c. cashews, chopped
- 1/2 c. walnuts, chopped
- 1/2 c. unsweetened flake coconut
- heavy pinch of salt
- heavy pinch of cinnamon
- 1/3 c. maple syrup
- 1/3 c. peanut butter
- 2 T. (or a bit more) of coconut oil
Preheat oven to 325. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Mix dry ingredients, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl. In a small saucepan, combine the maple syrup, peanut butter, and coconut oil. Heat over medium heat until it's well combined and runny enough to coat the dry ingredients, then pour it over the dry ingredients and mix well. Pour the mixture on the prepared sheet pan and gently tamp it down into a single layer.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time. Cool completely on the baking sheet before storing in glass jars. You can stash it in the freezer to store extra long and to keep it extra crunchy, but it stores well at room temperature for 3 weeks or so. If you can make it last that long.