Laura’s Gourmet Granola: review plus granola cookie recipe

Have you ever tasted a bowl of oatmeal so lightly and perfectly salted that it caused you to reflectively appreciate how a little dash of salt can actually improve flavor? Being inclined to leave out salt altogether from recipes more often than not, a “just right” hint of salt makes an impact on me. In any case, it was definitely one of my first impressions when sampling Laura’s Gourmet Vanilla Almond Granola, alongside the beautiful balance of sweetness that conveyed a sort of sophistication (in granola terms) without being over-powering. In fact, all characteristics of Laura’s Gourmet Granola, which  include 4 uniquely delicious varieties, Vanilla Almond, Honey Roasted Peanut, Applelicious Crunch, and Pumpkin Pecan, equally lend balance to this all natural, budding brand.

In spite of being on the cautious side when it comes to  granola (we all know what has previously been touted as a “health food” can be loaded with sugars and fat), I was excited to receive samples for potential review but the littlest bit wary that I might not feel positively about the product, in which case I was bound to feel guilty about taking free stuff . However, the tastefully- not-wastefully packaged goods didn’t disappoint, or I wouldn’t be taking time to write about them now. I’m partial to apple and pumpkin as a rule, but nostalgia kicked in when it came to Honey Roasted Peanut, as the flavors were so reminiscent of a cornflake cookie my Mom used to make when my sisters and I were kids; containing butterscotch chips, corn flakes and peanut butter, those cookies hadn’t crossed my mind literally in decades, and I would never make them for myself now, but a spoonful of granola was like my grown-up version of a childhood favorite. Developed by Chef Laura Slama, Laura’s Gourmet Granola has been steadily expanding in availability since 2004. All natural and trans fat free, each flavor is distinct yet pleasingly delicate, and lower in fat and sugar than many commercial brands, though not claiming to be a low fat food.  Indeed, sampling the different flavors felt naturally decadent, and a small amount delivers easy satisfaction. Containing clusters but not lumpy, the consistency is perfect for toppings and addends with oatmeal or other hot breakfast grains and cold cereals, yogurt, strudels and other baked goods. It also lends well sprinkled in with recipes wherein you would typically use oats, adding a simultaneously crunchy and chewy kick.  I tried the well received Honey Roasted Peanut Crunch cookie recipe shared on Chef Laura’s website, and am brainstorming ways of integrating a little granola into crusts, including for one of several variations on Seven Layer Bars I’ve promised a friend (coming soon). With regard to the granola cookies, I altered the original recipe a bit, using whole wheat flour, cutting back by a tablespoon on the butter, and decreasing the granola to about a cup. I also halved the brown sugar to 1/2 cup, adding 1/4 cup honey, and used 1/2 cup semi-sweet mini-chips. Here’s what the final recipe looked like post tweaking. Please go to www.lauras-gourmet.com for Chef Laura’s unadulterated original, plus more info and recipes.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 to 1  cup Honey Roasted Peanut Crunch granola
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate mini chips

Preparation:

1. Cream butter and sugar until smooth. Add honey, egg, and vanilla and beat until blended.

2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Add to the butter mixture and beat on medium speed just until incorporated. Scrape bowl and beat an additional 10 seconds.

3. Add Honey Roasted Peanut Crunch granola and chocolate chips and mix just until combined.

4. Spray or line baking sheets. Using a 2 T measure, scoop out the dough, flattening it slightly in the center. Refrigerate for 1 hour. (*I was in a hurry, and didn’t do this. They probably spread more than intended, but were still good!)

5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and cool.

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