My very favorite granola

If you’re anything like me, you’ve tried at least 10 different recipes for granola- each of them ok, but not something that you want to make… and then make again.  With this recipe I’ve tweaked it a few times until I found the balance that makes me happy.  It’s slightly crunchy, a little salty, it has the chew factor, it has texture, the little bit of sweet offered up by the dried fruits, and a teeny bit of heat, ’cause, well, why not?  So without further adiue….

Granola

Granola

Ingredients:

  • 3 Cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 Cup whole raw cashews
  • 1/2 Cup chopped raw cashews
  • 3/4 Cups unsweetened, shredded coconut
  • 1/4 Cup grade B pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 Cup canola oil
  • 3/4 Teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 Teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/3 Cup dried cranberries
  • 2/3 Cup raisins (I like variety so I use 1/3 Thompson, 1/3 golden, and 1/3 red flame)

Directions:

  • Preheat your oven to 250 degrees F
  • In a 1 Cup liquid measuring cup combine the maple syrup, canola oil, kosher salt, cinnamon and cayenne- give it a real good swirl around in there
  • In a bowl, combine the oats, all of the cashews, and the coconut
  • Add the liquid to the solid and combine the mixtures as evenly as is possible so that you can’t see any bog, dry clumps at all
  • Spread the mixture out on a jelly roll pan, evenly, and cook for an hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to achieve an even brownesss
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes, then add the cranberries & raisins
  • Store in an airtight container in a cupboard for up to 1 week.  Enjoy dry or with your favorite milk (cow, goat, soy, almond, hemp)

Rocky cookies

I have a dear friend named Roxanne.  Those who know her well call her Rocky.  Rocky is a giving and loving person, always there to listen to a friend, offer advice, lend her opinion.  Rocky also happens to be famous for her cookies, and I mean that.  She’s been asked to make them for parties at a salon, for people’s backyard shindigs, she’s made them for co-workers.  She willingly shares her recipe and I’ve used it over and over.  In fact I have a family member who swears that Rocky cookies helped her survive through a rough patch of menopause.  My weight-lifting friend asks me to make them as her cheat after competitions.  I’ve made them for constipated children who don’t get enough fiber in their diet, and for adults after surgery.  I make them for myself as a snack.  Unlike conventional cookies, they’re packed with healthy fats and fruits, nuts, and energy-supplying seeds.  No butter, no brown sugar, no white sugar- you get my drift.

This cookie is hearty.  It can be made with every ingredient in the list, or only a few of them.  You can play with combinations for flavor such as pumpkin and walnut, or chocolate and cherries, or sunflower and raisin.  Personally, I love to have a little bit of dark chocolate, lots of different fruits (prune, fig, raisin, cranberry), some wheat berries, a mixture of flours (barley and whole wheat)- a little bit of everything.

The recipe may confuse some as it calls for a handful of this and that ingredient.  It means that, literally.  The dough should not be terribly stiff when complete, but if it’s too runny just add a bit more flour to the mix.

2 cups old fashioned oats

1 cup steel cut oats

1 ½ cups whole wheat flour (or oat or barley flour)

¾ teaspoon baking soda

¾ teaspoon cinnamon (can also add a dash of cloves and/or nutmeg)

Sprinkle of sea salt

Handful of bittersweet chocolate chunks

Handful of raisins

Handful of dried cranberries

Handful of walnuts

Handful of wheat germ

Handful of flax seed meal

Handful of seeds if you like them (sunflower, pepitas, flax, sesame, etc.)

the dry ingredients

1 egg

¾ cup real maple syrup (or any variation of, honey, agave, and/or molasses)

¾ cup plain, unsweetened applesauce

1/3 cup coconut or olive oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

¾ cup canned pumpkin (or a well-ripened banana)

1 large scoop of peanut butter (or almond or cashew butter)

the wet ingredients

  • Preheat the oven to 375
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix

the mixture

  • Scoop the batter by the tablespoon onto a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper (cookies will not spread)
  • Bake for 15-25 minutes (depending on your oven).  You want a finished cookie that is golden brown around the edges and a bit on top

the Rocky cookie

J

Cranberry Pecan Chocolate Chunk Cookie Bars

I don’t know about you, but when I was young my Mom used to make chocolate chip cookie bars every once in a while and they were a thing of beauty.  Thick, chewy, sweet, and addictive.  The tops were kind of crunchy and if you had one while they were still warm, the chips were gooey.

This month’s Food and Wine issue had a recipe in it for cookie bars which cut way back on the sugar & butter content, used whole wheat pastry flour instead of white, and added dried cranberries for chewiness.  I was all in!  Who can say no to lightly toasted pecans and chunks of bittersweet chocolate?  Not this girl.

Ingredients

1 cup pecans

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

2 tablespoons canola oil

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup bittersweet chocolate chunks

½ cup dried cranberries

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350° and line the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with parchment paper
  • Spread the pecans on a cookie sheet and toast for about 8 minutes, until golden (this can be done in a toaster oven too). Chop the pecans and let cool
  • In a mixing bowl beat the butter and oil with the granulated sugar and brown sugar until creamy. Beat in the egg and vanilla until smooth
  • In a small bowl, whisk the flour with the baking soda and salt; add the dry ingredients into the mixer at low speed.
  • Add the chocolate chips, cranberries and pecans; beat until just incorporated
  • Transfer the dough to the prepared baking dish and press into an even layer. Bake for about 20 minutes, until lightly browned and nearly set in the center
  • Let cool completely, then run a knife around the edges and invert the yumminess. Peel off the paper, cut and serve

J

Only 3 full days left until Christmas…

…and all I have to have finished by Friday afternoon is:

and as soon as that’s all done I need to prep a cranberry french toast bake and make & decorate a birthday cake for Gram.  Not too bad….

J