Sunday, March 10, 2013

Andy's Fairfield Granola

I bought a small bouquet of tulips the other day. They were singing to me, their yellow tinged lips and ruby petals were too pretty not to bring back home. They’re sitting on my dining table by the window, happily soaking up the bright rays of sunlight. It’s March and also that time of year when you start cursing why there is the snow still lying on the ground, and whining about wearing boots when you would rather break out those sandals you bought last year. On the upside, the days are getting longer and by the time I get home from work, the sky is still streaked with brilliant shade of gold. I’m excited to strip off to break away from the biting cold. Spring is here people! Spring!

I’ve been eating this for the past few weeks and don’t think I could ever get tired of it. There’s everything I want in the morning in this granola: wholesome, crunchiness filled with roasted nuts and chewy, dried fruit. Granola sprinkled over plain yogurt makes my insides feel happy and healthy. I’ve made granola many times before, but there’s usually too much oil or sugar and it makes a breakfast food taste more like dessert than something to start your day off right. Nigella’s recipe uses applesauce to help glue the ingredients together, ground cinnamon and ginger to give it extra oomph of flavour and only a moderate amount of sugar and fat to make this granola even better.  

I love that granola is also customizable to your tastes. Throw in any nuts, seeds, flavourings, spices, dried fruit as you please. I’m an almond and coconut advocate and made sure there was plenty of it in this batch. This recipe makes a boatload of granola and I’m still working through of it. 

In other news, I’m published! In PRINT!! I wrote a piece for Acquired Taste, a magazine that features beautiful photography and inspiring food stories. It feels pretty awesome to have my name in the same magazine as Christina Tosi, the pastry chef of Milk. I’m stoked for the next issue. 

Andy’s Fairfield Granola
Adapted from Nigella Lawson

Granola can be made pretty much with any nut or fruit combination you like. If you use dried fruit like I did, remember to leave it out and only add it to the baked granola after it has cooled, baking it with the oat mixture will just burn it and no one likes smoky dried apricots. I had some shredded coconut in my pantry and tossed it in as well. I also dialed down the sugar just a touch, I promise you won’t miss it.

Dry ingredients:
5 cups rolled oats
1 cup hulled, raw sunflower seeds
2 cups raw almonds or pecans
¾ cup sesame seeds
½ cup light brown sugar
½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup dried apricots, roughly chopped into pieces
1 cup unsweetened, dried cranberries

Wet ingredients:
¾ cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/3 cup brown rice syrup or agave nectar
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Set racks in middle of the oven and preheat oven to 300°F. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients together except the dried apricots and dried cranberries. Set aside the dried fruit in a bowl. In small bowl, combine all the wet ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir well. Spread the mixture evenly on two rimmed baking sheets.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until evenly golden brown. Set your timer to go off every ten minutes while the granola bakes to rotate the pan and stir the granola to help it cook evenly. When it’s ready, remove the pan from the oven and stir well. Set pan over wire rack to cool completely, the granola will seem a bit soft straight from the oven, but it will crisp and it cools down. Add the dried fruit and stir well, store granola in a large jar or airtight container.

Recipe here!

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