Thursday, January 19, 2012

Coconut Almond Granola

My mom has been making her own granola and eating it for breakfast for years. She gave me her recipe about five years ago, and I have used it as a base, sometimes adding dried fruit, sometimes heavy on the cinnamon, sometimes with coconut. Always with almonds. Sometimes the variations are successful and sometimes they aren't. For example, if you want to add dried fruit to your granola, add it after baking, as baking an already dried fruit will cause it to be ridiculously chewy.

My best disaster was one week night when Jason was on a business trip in Arizona. We'd been back in Winston for around six months, and we'd only been living in our house for three. This was back when my office benefited heavily from my baking, as making friends was slow going. I had nothing to do but exercise and cook, and no one to feed but my co-workers. So I was back in the kitchen to make cinnamon laden granola for my co-worker, Cara. Since my baking itch often hits right around the time normal people are getting into bed, it was almost eleven o'clock when I finally put the granola in the oven to bake. Not being one for timers, I just periodically checked back to see how it was doing. Nope, not brown yet. Ten minutes pass. Still not golden brown. Check facebook; pet the cat. Grrr. Hurry up. I'm tired. Read long article in the National Geographic. Really?! Hmm...what if I put it on Convection Bake? That should this speed up. Turn the oven dial to Convention Bake. Watch. Nothing. Walk away. Get distracted. Bad idea. Open oven door. Fire. Quote Lilly from last night's Modern Family: F***! F***! F***! F***! F***! Close oven door. No fire extinguisher under the kitchen sink. F***! Open oven door again. Yup, top of granola still on fire. Close it. Turn off the oven. Run around in a circle. Maybe it will smother itself it there's no air. Wait ten seconds. Open oven door. Still on fire. F***! Chemical fire...normal fire? Chemical fire...normal fire? Can I use water? Oh F***! Jason is going to kill me if I burn down the f***ing house. F***! Close door. Turn on sink. Fill cup with water. Open oven door. F***! Throw water. Repeat. Pray. Dear God, please, please, please let this be right. Don't let my house burn. Sorry for the f-bombs. Smoke alarm. Dang that's loud. Smoke. No fire. YAY!!

Thankfully, my house didn't catch on fire and the only mess I had to clean up was the charred granola and water all over the floor and inside the oven. And even though I never had to call, it was only as I was opening all the windows and standing on a stool under the fire alarm using the National Geographic as a fan it that I appreciated the fire station three blocks away. And the need for a fire extinguisher. We now own three.

To this day I set the timer in thirty second increments when I use Convection Bake.

Coconut Almond Granola
Kelley Gondring

Preheat oven 300

In a medium bowl, combine:
2 cups sliced almonds, toasted
2 cups sweetened coconut, toasted [either shaved or shredded]

In a large bowl, pour:
4 cups rolled oats

In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk together:
3 tablespoons coconut milk
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon molasses
1 tablespoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla
dash of salt

Continuously whisk until the sugar is dissolved and all ingredients are well-blended. Remove from heat and immediately pour sugar mixture over the rolled oats. Mix together so that the oats are completely coated. Pour toasted almond and coconut into bowl with oats. Using your hands, toss until thoroughly combined.

Pour onto cookie sheet and evenly spread. Bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown.

Eat up!

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