My favorite guest came this week. Her name is Eva and she is a scientist. Eva has known me long enough to do serious damage should I ever decide to run for office. I’ll leave you to imagine the sort of trouble we’ve caused.
The thing is, while Eva was here she was working in a lab sticking needles into fish brains in search of a specific neuron. (When I informed my sister of Eva’s special task, Terri replied “That sounds fake.”) I wanted to make sure that she had some good fuel in the mornings before setting out to the lab for hours upon hours of research. I am not, by and large, a morning cereal eater. Breakfast is a reason for protein and veggies in my world, but breakfast salad wouldn’t work for the delicate palate of my favorite scientist. I puzzled over baking a loaf of banana bread to share in the morning but ultimately decided to make granola.
While cereal is not often on my table when the sun rises, I do eat it regularly for dessert(cornflakes+cinnamon+honey+walnut+milk=duhssert). At the height of my nighttime cereal habit I made a batch of granola. Having never made granola before (but rather certain that it was a brainless activity) I did some searching online. Thankfully one of my favorite food bloggers had already done some experimenting. I based my recipe on Tony Tahhan’s Middle-Eastern inspired formula. Granola is one of those brilliant foods that can take any flavors you have on hand. Tony’s is fragrant with orange blossom water and pistachios (a winning combination). I made mine with coconut flakes, almonds and a touch of cardomom for some intrigue on the tongue. Paired with some Greek yogurt this provided not only good fuel for Eva’s research, but it put us at a table together in the morning, chatting, eating, smiling and laughing. Breakfast with a friend is the best way to start any day. She’s Grrrrrreat!
Eat that Kellog’s.
This is a rather large batch, but granola stays crunchy if stored in a good container. And it never hurts to have a little extra cereal on hand. Great for breakfast, great for dessert, snacks, whatever. If you have it in your pantry you’ll eat it all day.
Free of Gluten, Dairy, Eggs, Soy, Corn. Nuts+Tree nuts optional.
4 cups GF Oats
2 cups Slivered Almonds
1 ½ cups Coconut Flakes
2 cups Dates
Brown Rice Flour, for dusting the dates
⅔ cup Coconut Sugar
½ cup Coconut Oil, melted
¼ cup Honey
3 teaspoons Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Cardomom
½ teaspoon Salt
Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.
In a large bowl mix the oats, almonds and coconut. Spread the mixed dry goods onto two cookie sheets. Put the sheets in your oven for 10-15 minutes to toast the oat mixture. When everything is toasty and fragrant remove the sheets from your oven and set them aside.
While the oat mixture is toasting, chop up the dates into bite-sized pieces. They will be sticky, your hands will be messy. Do this: put the sticky pieces in a bowl and dust them heavily with some brown rice flour. Using your hands, toss the date pieces in the flour, breaking up clumps and roughly separating them into little bites again.
In a large bowl whisk together the remaining ingredients. This will be sticky and dark and should smell so heavily of cinnamon and cardomom that you’ll think you fell into a loaf of spice bread.
Pour the toasted dry goodies into the large bowl with the sweet liquid. Using a spoon (if you’re dainty) or your hands (if you’re like me) mix the granola and make sure that the liquid is well distributed through all the oats. Add the dusted dates and mix one more time (for good measure).
Spread the wet granola back onto your cookie sheets and put it in your oven for 28-32 minutes, or until the granola is toasted, dark and too enticing to bake any longer.
Prep. Time: 20 minutes
Baking Time: 30 minutes
Yield: ~2 ½ quarts