Simple Granola

Simple Granola

I have mixed feelings about this granola.  ha.

I apologize to you for opening with such a terrible granola joke.  Apparently I get all my schtick from popsicle sticks.

This granola is – forgive my hubris – simply amazing. I love it and I couldn’t keep my little paws of out the bowl. I finally had to seal it up and put it int he freezer so I would stop thinking about it.  The mixed feelings come from the fact that this started out as a savory snack. I’ve been trying to develop a decent savory-spicy granola for a long time, and have been failing. For a long time.  This was oh, version 3.5 of testing. “3” meaning the third time I’ve tried, and “5” meaning the fifth batch of the third attempt. After the batch 3.3 failed, I just gave up (ahem, temporarily set aside) the idea altogether and decided to go with traditional sweet granola. Like most things in life, tradition can be both good and bad. Granola good. Patriarchy bad.

Out of the fury of wasted oats comes this a crisp little snack.   It’s crunchy, of course, with little chewy pockets that surprise you. There’s citrus and spice, brown sugar, cinnamon, love. And just a small bit of cayenne because I couldn’t give up the fire altogether. Honestly, you can barely taste the cayenne, but the fact that it’s there makes me feel better.

Simple Granola

Speaking of batches, this is the second reincarnation of this blog, which is why the url and the blog name are different.  There’s a long story behind that, which I won’t go into now. Although I probably should, eventually. You see, at the advice of Abby, I put an SEO plugin on here and it scolded me and told me my posts were too short. I was shocked, because I’ve been told that people just want the recipe, so keep the chit-chat to a minimum, little girl.

I’m glad I can relax now and talk a little longer, even though the SEO felt a little naggy. Word count, what, am I back in school or something? Oh, wait. I am back in school. Speaking of which, I have a few items coming up that will require invested attention. I might be around less in the next two weeks or so, because real life sometimes has to come before virtual life.

One the the best things about real life is your real life persona has tastebuds, and your virtual persona doesn’t. And as long as we’re gonna be living our real, late night, early morning, headache, stack-of-responsibilities lives, we should keep our taste buds content.

<3

Simple Granola

 

Simple Granola

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups of old fashioned oats
  • 3/4 cup shelled pumpkin seeds, divided
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans, divided
  • 3/4 cup grapefruit juice
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar, divided
  • 2 1/4 tsp dried orange peel
  • 1 tbsp flax meal
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • optional
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dried fruit

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Blend up 1/2 cup of the oats.
  3. Combine the blended oats, the whole oats, 1/2 cup of the pumpkin seeds, and 1/2 cup of the pecans.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the grapefruit juice, 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, the orange peel, the flax meal, cinnamon, vanilla, and cayenne.
  5. Add the olive oil to the grapefruit mix.
  6. Add the wet ingredients to the oat mix and stir well.
  7. Spread the oat mix over a parchment-lined baking sheet. Break up the rest of the brown sugar into chunks and sprinkle in spots over the granola.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes, then turn off the oven. Do not open the oven. Leave there for 4-4.5 hours, until hardened.
  9. Break into chunks of desired size.
  10. Add the remaining nuts and seeds
  11. Add the chocolate chips and dried fruit.
  12. Enjoy
http://kitchenwindowclovers.com/simple-granola/

clumping method taken from here

Double Caramel Banana Chocolate Oat Bars (vegan and gluten free!)

double caramel chocolate banana bars vegan gluten free

So.

So. I might just be in love with caramelizing bananas before using them in baking. It adds an extra layer of flavor and sweetness, subtle and toasty. And a little nutty. Even if you cover the banana flavor with other things (like with the Sour Cherry Scones), the toasty nuttiness remains. Heck yes, I’m tooting the banana horn here.

I’m apparently 8 years old because saying banana horn makes me laugh.

I didn’t use to like bananas, not in smoothies, not in cake, not in anything. But life doesn’t stay the same, and tastes don’t either. Did you ever think that you’d be obsessed with roasting cauliflower? I certainly didn’t, yet it’s rather popular. Probably because roast cauliflower is awesome, as long as you slice it thin enough.bars4

Wait, why am I talking about vegetables at a time like this? Y’all are here today for the caramel chocolate.

These soft, gooey bars get their sweetness twice. Once from the caramel bananas, and then again from a generous pour of a vegan caramel sauce. They are very rich and sweet, which is why I like to cut them into smaller triangles instead of huge bars.  They are more enjoyable that way…and um, you can always go back and get another or two or three. Or call up your favorite people and have them all over for an impromtu caramel party.  That’s a thing, right?

gooey3

 

Double Caramel Banana Oat Bars

Yield: approx 22 small bars, less if cut into large squares

Ingredients

    bars
  • 2 large, very ripe bananas
  • 1 can of full fat coconut milk, liquid part only (you'll use the solids for the caramel topping)*
  • 1 cup of old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup of cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp golden flax meal
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • topping
  • solids from the can of coconut milk*
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp old fashioned oats

Instructions

  1. Grease a small skillet with 1 tsp coconut oil and place over medium heat.
  2. Slice the bananas into the skillet, as thinly as you can get them.
  3. Cook the bananas for 9-12 minutes, stirring occasionally (about once every minute or so), making sure they aren't burning or sticking to the pan. By the time you're done, they should be in an lumpy and mashed in appearance. Remove from heat.
  4. Grind up the cup of oats to a soft, silky flour.
  5. Combine the oat flour, the cornstarch, the baking powder, the cinnamon, and the baking soda. Set aside.
  6. Measure out the liquid from the coconut milk. There should be about 1/2 cup. If you don't have half a cup, fill up as much as you can with the coconut liquid and then add water or almond milk to compensate the rest of the way.
  7. Puree the bananas with the coconut liquid, the vanilla, the flax, and the brown sugar. Blend till smooth.
  8. Add the banana mixture to the oat mixture and stir well until combined.
  9. Add the 1/4 cup of chocolate chips to the batter.
  10. Preheat the oven to 350.
  11. Line a 8 x 8 baking pan with parchment paper and grease with the remaining coconut oil (this step is optional, but it makes cleaning the pan so much easier and also you get all caramel staying on the bars, and not on the pan)
  12. Spread the batter evenly into the baking dish.
  13. Sprinkle the 1/3 cup of chocolate chips over the batter.
  14. Sprinkle the 2 tsp oats over the batter.
  15. Measure out 1/2 cup of the coconut milk solids. There should still be some solids left over, which you won't use for this recipe. If still in a very solid state, warm up in the microwave for a few seconds until it becomes liquid and pourable.
  16. Combine the 1/2 cup brown sugar with the coconut milkfat. Stir until an even color and consistency is reached.
  17. Pour the brown sugar mixture over the batter.
  18. Bake for 25 minutes.
  19. Allow to cool before cutting into small triangles.
  20. Enjoy with a cool glass of almond milk.

Notes

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* In order to get the coconut milkfat and liquid to separate, leave a can in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. You can also put in the freezer for a shorter amount of time. Be careful not to shake the can. When sufficiently chilled, you should be able to scoop the milkfat right off the top.

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If you are the kind of person who likes "extra caramel drizzle" at Starbucks, I suggest increasing the coconut milk solids to 3/4 cup, and the brown sugar to 3/4 cup. This will make them extra sweet and extra caramelly. I prefer to use 1/2 cup of each, but you do you boo boo. 😉

http://kitchenwindowclovers.com/double-caramel-banana-chocolate-oat-bars-vegan-and-gluten-free/