Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Chinese Five Spice and Cinnamon Granola

So here's the thing.  Blogging about food can get frustrating at times.  To be completely honest, the way I cook on a daily basis doesn't always seem "blog" worthy.  I mean it's not like we eat a recipe from The French Laundry Cookbook every night.  Hell, who am I kidding.  We've NEVER eaten a recipe from the French Laundry Cookbook.  We've never even been to the fucking French Laundry.  Have you ever tried to get a res there??

So coming up with "blog worthy" recipes can be a little challenging at times.  Is granola "blog worthy".  Damn if I know.  But what I do know, is that I've been making this over and over again for months.  Probably even years.  So long, I can make get it mixed together and in the oven in about 10 minutes.  Another 25-30 minutes baking and boom.....breakfast every day for at least two weeks. 

It's gone/goes through many variations, based on what's in my pantry (I'm a liar....I used to have a pantry, but we all know crappy rental houses don't have pantries.)  Use whatever nuts/seeds you have and whatever dried fruit makes your skirt fly up.  Or don't use any dried fruit at all if you're watching your sugar intake.  I like this with fresh blueberries or pomegranate seeds in the winter and fresh strawberries or peaches in the summer.  But dried fruit makes it pretty for pictures.  And suitable for blogs.

I don't use much sugar in this.....just two tablespoons of raw organic it's not sweet.  I hate sweet things in the morning.  (My husband would probably say that I could use a little sweetness in the morning, but we celebrated 25 years this week, so he's obviously gotten over that.)  But if you'd like it a little sweeter, feel free to add some brown sugar or more honey.  Or even maple syrup if that's your thing.  Or even substituting sweetened coconut for the unsweetened.  It's flexible.

The best part about it for me is that it's super crunchy.  I love crunchy in the morning!  It goes with my surly personality.

Here's the recipe:

Chinese Five Spice and Cinnamon Granola
Me (adapted from several different recipes over the years)

4 cups oats (not the instant kind)
3 cups of nuts/seeds
(I generally use pepitas and a combination of slivered and sliced almonds because they give me the most crunch, but feel free to use pecans or walnuts or whatever)
2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup chia seeds
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tablespoons raw organic (local) honey
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon Chinese Five Spice powder

2 cups dried fruit of your choice (I used dried cranberries and cherries this time, but I also love chopped dried apricots)

Preheat oven to 350 deg. F.  Line two sheet pans with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. 

In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts/seeds, coconut flakes and chia seeds.

In a small bowl, combine the melted coconut oil, applesauce, honey, salt, vanilla extract, cinnamon and Chinese five spice powder and stir well to combine.  Stir into the oat mixture making sure to coat everything thoroughly.  Divide the mixture between the two sheet pans and put one on the upper third of the oven and one on the lower.  Bake for 25-30 minutes,  rotating the pans and stiring the ingredients on the pans to prevent burning at the corners every 10 minutes.  Bake until everything is nicely golden brown and toasted.  Remove from oven and let rest on the pans until thoroughly cooled.  The mixture will continue to crisp up as it cools.

Store at room temperature in an air tight container.

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