January 25, 2015 1 Comment
I am a thinker, and if you observe me in my day-to-day activities, this fact becomes particularly apparent. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve blocked out Pythagorean identities and musings on Herman Melville in lieu of contemplating human existence, love, or the vastness of the cosmos.
Or food. I think about food a lot.
As both of my parents can tell you, I am incredibly picky when it comes to choosing a recipe to make. After you’ve been seriously cooking and baking for a while, you start running out of appealing flavor combinations you haven’t tried yet. My dad will suggest strawberry and oat, chocolate and almond, ginger and cranberry, and I will rattle off a list of things I’ve already made with these ingredients that would bore me to make again.
The quest continues to confound me.
So sometimes, I just randomly throw stuff together and hope that it tastes good. And you know what? It often works out. I present this granola as testament.
My sweet potato soul mate (AKA Natalie, my dear love that has the nerve to live 1,500 miles away 🙁 ) requested a baked good or treat with orange as an ingredient, so I spent weeks (yes, weeks) mulling over what would make a happy marriage with this vibrant citrus. I decided to take a tropical route (because I’ve already made almond and orange scones and orange, ginger, and pistachio biscotti, and there was no way I was mailing Natalie poultry), including coconut and cashews as a salute to the ones I’ve seen growing in Hawaii and St. Lucia. A touch of vanilla and maple added a lovely sweetness, too.
I make granola almost every weekend–it’s such a breeze to put together and tastes SO. GOOD. It’s so easy, in fact, that you can make it while simultaneously dancing to Ed Sheeran. (I may or may not be a little obsessed…) All you do is mix the dry ingredients…
…heat together the wet ingredients…
…stir everybody together…
(BTW doesn’t this look like a face?!?!?!?!)
…then bake in the oven until golden-brown and smelling of dancing woodland pixies (er, maybe not…I don’t think they’d smell good after frolicking with chipmunks and searching for wild mushrooms…). I’m going to stop now. 😛
Yield 8-10 servings
3 cups of gluten-free rolled oats
3/4 cup of raw cashew pieces
1/2 cup of unsweetened coconut flakes
The zest of 2 medium oranges
2 tablespoons of unrefined cane sugar (or coconut sugar)
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons of coconut oil
3 tablespoons of maple syrup
The juice of 1 large orange (about 3-4 tablespoons)
1/3 cup of smooth, unsalted cashew butter
1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of coconut extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a large rimmed baking sheet with coconut oil.
In a large bowl, mix together the rolled oats, cashew pieces, coconut flakes, sugar, and salt. Set aside while you mix together the wet ingredients.
In a small saucepan, combine the coconut oil, maple syrup, orange juice, and cashew butter. Turn the heat to medium-low and whisk together until the coconut oil has completely melted.
Remove from the heat and add the vanilla and coconut extracts.
Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir everything together with a spatula. Make sure you don’t break up too many clumps–granola clusters are the best part.
Spread the granola onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Stir, then bake for another 10-15 minutes, stirring every few minutes to ensure even browning.The granola is done when it is golden brown and firm to the touch.
Let the granola cool completely before serving. Do not eat it all as soon as it comes out of the oven. Best advice you’ll ever receive. 😉
Do you daydream about food? Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know!