Full disclosure: I am currently coming down from a brief but delicious vacation high. For the last few days, the only thing I had to think about was planning the most efficient routes on Google maps between various snack destinations in New York City and optimizing schedules for maximum eating pleasure. What is the best time of day to sample BKLYN Larder’s pistachio cake? The answer is 11 AM, preceding a brisk walk over the Brooklyn Bridge, followed by blintzes, bagels and lox at Russ & Daughters and Birthday Cake ice cream at Milk Bar. No bites were regretted, no crumb left behind. I tried bubble tea for the first time! It was all a glorious time – bougie and button-popping and very inspiring re: mouth feels and recipe imagination. The best part was that Rory and Sofia came with us because, you know, it’s just 100 times better to be in New York with your pals than by your lonesome, and also there is more food to share and more laughs to be had. PS: we did some things that didn’t involve eating, like finally getting to see the Whitney (!!!) and catching some improv at UCB and wandering through some seriously high quality bookstores (I *only* bought three books, so basically I am a champion of self-control).
Now I’m back in Ottawa and that means back to food basics as well. Though the memories of that pistachio cake linger, I’m not too sad about it because basics mean homemade granola (like this clumpy almond cherry granola) and lots of veggies and also coffee that doesn’t cost $3 USD. Plus we’re off on another vacation in a week (Vancouver sushi here we come!) which means that, if I still want to fit in my pants by the end of summer, I’ve got lots of jogging and healthy granola breakfasts ahead of me.
I’ve been making homemade granola pretty steadily for about four years now. Though I’ve occasionally broke from granola in favour of smoothies and/or steel-cut oatmeal, granola has been a mainstay, and whatever stereotypes exist out there for people who make their own granola, I don’t care. Granola from the grocery store is garbage and this stuff is excellent. It’s so easy to make you barely need a recipe, but I thought I would share my template with you anyway. Every batch of granola at Chez Tien-Cotter is a variation of this clumpy almond cherry granola and it makes breakfast something to actually get excited about waking up for. Feel free to swap add-ins and sweeteners for whatever you have on hand. I typically top my granola with yogurt, hemp seeds, a drizzle of honey or maple syrup, and some fresh berries (if I’m feeling fancy).
You can eat now!
- 4 cups rolled oats (quick or large flake, gluten-free can be subbed)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp cardamom
- pinch of salt
- 1/3 cup grapeseed or canola oil
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup almonds
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1 handful dried and pitted cherries
- Preheat oven to 325 degree Fahrenheit.
- In a large bowl combine oats and spices and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon.
- Add nuts to the oat mixture.
- In a small bowl, combine liquids in the following order: oil, maple syrup, and then vanilla. This ensures that the maple syrup will pour smoothly and quickly.
- Pour liquid combination onto oat and nut mixture and mix thoroughly.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleaning.
- Spread granola evenly onto parchment paper.
- Bake for 30 minutes, pausing at the 15 minute mark to swish the granola around with your wooden spoon (ensures even baking), and again at the 25 minute mark to add the cherries*.
- Let sit in the pan for 30 minutes to an hour before eating to ensure maximum "clumpiness".
- Whenever you're making granola, it's a good idea to leave any fruit add-ins to the last 5 minutes, otherwise they'll get too hard to chew and/or burn.