Friday, February 1, 2013

Salty and Sweet Exotic Spiced Granola

My husband is a granola addict, which makes complete sense because he comes from a long line of people hooked on the stuff. Who was the original “pusher” you ask? Well, that’d be sweet, magnanimous “MaMa”, Jon’s maternal grandmother. Sadly, I never got the chance to meet MaMa but her legacy is strong and continues to nourish us all. Mama’s granola recipe has coconut and is perfumed with vanilla. It’s downright amazing. If you want to try it, book a trip to Mulberry House, my mother-in-law’s elegant and well-appointed guesthouse in Nashville Tennessee. She serves it there! Otherwise, you’ll have to wait until I post it. So mean, I know!

I’ve become a bit of a pariah because, due to portion control issues, I’ve felt it necessary to put a loose ban on granola, a.k.a. our gateway drug, at times. That being said, I always make exceptions to my own rules. 

I was overcome with curiosity when I saw this recipe, adapted from the New York Times, on the wonderful blog, butter me up, Brooklyn! I made some tweaks, as per the ushe, and reduced the sugar and salt, which is always a goal of mine. The result was stupendous! Salty and sweet… a little exotic… toasty and nutritious. Ooohhhh, yeah! The perfect fix! While a separate animal entirely from MaMa’s, I think she would have approved. I wonder if we can get everyone addicted to this version too! 

Salty/Sweet Granola w/ Cardamom, Maple Syrup, Olive Oil, Nuts, Seeds + Cocoa Nibs 
Adapted from butter me up, Brooklyn 
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
½ cup walnuts, halved or chopped
½ cup almonds, slivered, sliced or chopped
¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds
¼ cup sunflower seeds
2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar, packed
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 Tablespoon cocoa nibs (optional, *add at halfway mark)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 300F.
Mix the oats, nuts, seeds, brown sugar, spices and salt together in a bowl using your fingers to break up and disperse the brown sugar if necessary. Pour the olive oil and maple syrup in and stir well so the mixture is all slightly moistened. (Note: As you can see from the photo above, I added everything all at once. Please do as I say and not as I do. The recipe came out great but the method herein is an expression of what my best self would do to optimize outcomes! Fancy!)
Spread the mixture out on a large baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and add the cocoa nibs, stirring well to incorporate. Bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until the granola is toasty and browned. Remove from the oven and set on a rack to cool. Mix in the raisins and store in an airtight container for up to three weeks or so, if you can get it to last that long!