Some food, some drink.
A granola recipe that bears repeating: Blueberry + White Chocolate.
Abstract: I make granola all the time; at least a couple of pounds every month. The textures and contrasting flavors provide for a taste bud tug-o'-war that is light and healthy, yet satisfying. I almost never make the same flavor combination twice, however this last batch is worth an encore. The punch of cinnamon and cardamom are tempered by creamy-smooth white chocolate and sweet dried blueberries, with the perfume of fresh lavender infused into the blend.
Purpose: About every-other Friday, I find
myself back in a proper office. It allows me an opportunity to
conduct all the business that
can't be done by phone (and with two pre-schoolers, that's usually
with the mute button on). I also use my face-time as an opportunity
to test recipe experiments. As good as one thinks a recipe might be,
an empty dish doesn't lie.
Recently, we had one of those rare summer days that was more like spring. As I had been craving granola for a few weeks, I used the opportunity to run the oven. I made a big ol' batch of Blueberry and White Chocolate Granola, and took some of it to work, where it was met with positive review. That is to say that beyond a bevy of compliments, only a smattering of crumbs remained in the bottom of a full dish. Given the success of this batch, it's probably only right that I share the recipe with y'all.
Recipe: Jump to the detailed recipe. (or, keep reading for the gist of it) -
To be Baked
Added after Baking
Preheat the oven to 300F. Run one-third (4 oz) of the oats thru a mini-prep until it becomes a very coarse flour (about 5-6 pulses) and re-combine with the rest of the oats, almonds, cereal, flax and wheat germ. Set aside.
Dump honey, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, cardamom, lavender and salt into a saucepan over medium heat and stir occasionally until sugar is mostly dissolved. When the syrup just starts to boil, drizzle in the oil and slowly whisk it all together until (mostly) combined. Oil and sugar burns are both no fun; do be careful!
Integrate the flavor base into the oat mixture to be baked and spread evenly onto a parchment (or silpat)-lined half sheet pan. Bake 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. When nicely browned & nutty smelling, remove pan from oven, stir in blueberries and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. After it's all cooled a little bit gently stir in the white chocolate chips and press the granola back into pan to let completely cool. When cool, store in something airtight for up to a week, or freeze if storing longer.
- Please pardon me if volumetric measures in this recipe are a bit off. Frankly, they're a bit of an afterthought. The easiest and most-accurate way to make this granola is to measure ingredients on a scale directly into mixing bowls by weight. The kids love to cook this way, and it teaches them how to measure and tare a scale.
- Incidentally, you'll need two bowls and a saucepan. One bowl is for the oats and mix-ins that are to be heat-treated, while the second is for the post-bake goods. The saucepan is for the flavor base. Just put the appropriate vessel on the scale and start dumping ingredients.
- No fresh lavender? Don't go running for that sachet in the closet. You can leave it out and it'll still taste pretty swell. Botanical kin rosemary would be my second choice if lavender is not available and you can't live without the fresh herbs.
- It's optional really, but grinding a third of the the oats into a coarse flour facilitates the creation of gorgeous clusters of oats, flax and wheat germ bound with the sugars. If you wanna be lazy, just use all quick oats instead.
- I know using the breakfast cereal seems goofy, but it adds a little more crisp to the crunch. Any ready-to-eat rice-based cereal with a light texture will do.
- Whisk (carefully) as you drizzle the olive oil into the rest of the flavor base when the sugars have just started to boil. Not all of the the oil will integrate, but that's ok.
- So as not to heat my kitchen up as much, I cheated a bit and ran the convection in my oven. If you're “convecting” the cook time is 30 minutes in a 300F oven, with stirrage happening every 10 minutes.
like the original recipe that it's derived from, this permutation is still
set up to be modular. Just about any one of the ingredients can be
swapped out with an analogue (well, maybe not the oats), and you'll
still make granola. This is a great recipe for kids to help make as
well. Obviously, you want them nowhere near a bubbling pan of hot
oil and sugar, but the rest is a lot of setup, measuring, and the
occasional tasting; all of which are good excuses to get kids
involved in cooking something you can feel good about feeding them.
This stuff is great out-of-hand, as it tends to cluster into craggy and random pieces. However, most of mine was consumed setting atop dishes of homemade yogurt, where the tang of the dairy mingles with the white chocolate and vies for flavor superiority with those dried blueberries that eat like candy.