Golden Granola

February 9, 2010

 

Categories:
Basics, Breakfast, Fall, Local Eating, Recipes, Seasons, Spring, Summer, Winter


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There’s nothing better than going to sleep in a house that smells like breakfast. Knowing that when you wake up, a nice heap of something will be waiting for you, whether it’s oatmeal from a slow cooker, prunes stewing on the stovetop or muffins, just pulled from the oven. But as wonderful as breakfast can be, nothing, nothing is worse than wondering where your next morning meal is coming from. It sets up the day so badly to be mining for an apple you thought was still rolling around the crisper drawer, or reaching a fist into the wax paper bag, dragging out the final dusty crumbles of stale cereal. Don’t even get me started on missing milk.

I am usually pretty prepared for breakfast, but I don’t always have time to pre-think to the magnitude of old fashioned oats, reduced fruit or baked goods. This is where granola comes in—dutifully home-baked yet strong in its resistance to time.

BallofGranola

In fact, it is precisely these qualities that make granola the perfect Mother’s Day present: it’s the homemade baked good that just keeps on giving—Christopher and I have had this batch for nearly two weeks, stored properly in a Ball jar. It’s just the kind of thing you want to leave on someone’s doorstep or send in a rustic package, tied with a bow.

This is precisely how I found this rendition of granola, which has quickly become a personal favorite. The girls at Sunday Suppers do a wonderful job of making everything look quaint enough to have come directly off the farm from Charlotte’s Web, while still being way more mod, urban and hip than I could ever claim to be. They tied their granola with twine, for example, and served it beside a row of mini-milk carafes.

nuts!

Anyway, I often find myself wandering to Sunday Suppers when I’m looking for comfort. The pictures transport me to a lovely place, somewhere timeless and placeless: could be 1920, could be 2010. Could be New York; could be Paris. Either way, everything looks like some version of home I wish I’d had: which is why it’s so fitting that the last time I was looking for virtual nurture, I stumbled into granola, my go-to gift for the moms in my life.

Although I didn’t it follow it precisely, this recipe allowed me to produce the absolute most delicious granola I’ve ever made, or tasted as far as I can tell. The combination of honey and butter really sets it off: for some reason I’ve been accustomed to tossing my oats with oil. Never again. The flecks of oat, nut and fruit stay crisp and rich with this tactic, not at all lumpy or chunky, either. (Although this could be the result of my periodically lifting the Ball jar and shaking it over my shoulders, hoping I can coax the remaining bits of nut and fruit to the top…)

But really, every bite is good: rich, crisp, gently letting its sweet, rich flavors float around the bowl, adding something extra to my milk or yogurt. This is what I have to look forward to every day. And while the smell only graced the house for an evening, it comes back to me every time I unscrew that golden lid: it’s like getting out of bed and coming home—everything you could hope for in an early morning.

upintheairgranola

Golden Granola

Makes (at least) 8 servings

4 c old-fashioned rolled oats
½ c coarsely chopped walnuts
½ c coarsely chopped almonds
½ c coarsely chopped cashews
½ c shredded coconut
1 c dried fruit (cranberries are my favorite for this)
½ c sunflower seeds
¾ c local honey
1 c butter
1 tsp kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 320 degrees.

Place the butter and honey in a saucepan over low heat and stir until butter melts.

Put the oats, walnuts, almonds, cashews and sunflower seeds in a large bowl.

Coat with ½ of hot butter mixture and stir to combine.

Spread evenly over a non-stick mat or parchment-paper lined baking sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from oven. Add remaining butter mixture then sprinkle salt over all.

Drizzle coconut flakes on top—these help to absorb any butter that is not being picked up by the oats. Stir again, if necessary.

Bake another 5 minutes then stir a final time, being sure that coconut and oats are evenly redistributed.

Add remaining fruit and nuts and bake an additional 5 minutes.

Cool then store in an airtight container.

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