Monday, September 29, 2014

Sometimes YOLO is code for Granola

Ok that's probably quite a stretch... 
But what I'm saying is, we're hard-wired to seek comfort.

We do the whole YOLO / bucket list thing, searching for new thrills, loving new adventures. 

But when it comes down to happiness, it's often the dead-easy parts of life that do the trick.


Like a cup of good coffee.
A hot bowl of chicken soup.
Fried chicken that crunches.
Juicy steak.
And of course, brunch.

(I am all about food, I realize!)


All the in-built yearnings.
Nothing fancy.
Just a whole lot of comforting good.

The whole idea of brunch is a soothing indulgence.

A precious weekend treat of taking things slow. Not having to scramble, eyes half-closed, jostling with scores of fellow un-deads.

Brunch is wickedly set in the middle of breakfast and lunch, just to say - I get to eat at a weird time, and no one's gonna stop me.

I love a good hearty full brunch of eggs, bacon, toast, beans and sometimes - even fries.
Fries go with every meal. Truth.

But some brunches are stay-in days. When you're too lazy to get into decent clothes, or when it's raining outside.

Life's answer to stay-in brunch comfort: GRANOLA.


I'm a shameless granola hussy, for 3 simple reasons:

1) Crunch = good
It's a party in your mouth. There's crunch, there's flavor - I'm sold. I was born with a tooth for the crunchy (fried food, chips, nuts - you name it), and granola has awesome crispy texture with such amazing flavors folded into their tiny nuggets of crunch. This may be a sign - I need to start Granola Anonymous.


2) Sweet, salty, sour
Have I mentioned how versatile granola is? There's not a single flavor dimension that cannot work with these grains. I made some super fabulous sweet granola below - Deep Chocolate Crunch and Chai Spice Honey - look out for posts on some savory ones soon!



3) Trickery
And because I snack so much, granola is a fab way of tricking my brain into believing I'm eating my fave crunchy snack, but with the bonus of amazing nutrients and none of the evil trans-oils and salts.

I feel healthier already, just thinking about it!

Totally planning to granolarize the kitchen again, can't wait.


CHAI SPICE HONEY GRANOLA


A wonderfully fragrant mix from the Inquiring Chef, this is a granola that is subtle and strong at the same time. The spices impart a beautiful tang to the grains, and you could eat this on and on... and on without getting tired of it.



































Vary the spice mix as you like, I went with about 3/4 the quantities and found it to be quite the perfect balance.






































The granola itself is pretty much up to the grains and nuts you like. Almonds are great for adding a sharp crunch, either whole or slivered. The coconut oil is interchangeable with vegetable oil or any other light oils, and I made mine with rolled oats (instead of a mix with quick-cook oats), and it turned out just as delicious.

More desserts like this:
> Summer cakes & shakes
> Sesame match cupcakes, Zingy ginger crunch


DEEP CHOCOLATE CRUNCHY GRANOLA



I call this an indulgent granola because it's not something you can eat everyday, even if you declare every day Brunch Day. It's got a deep earthy chocolate crunch that is such a treat, but keep reminding yourself - step away from the bowl




















And I'm saying this as a friendly baker-warning, and a recovering sore throat victim - you SHOULD NOT be finishing this all in one sitting. It's a dangerously addictive granola that needs to be paced out.

Take my word for it.


































Here's the recipe from Peaceful Cooking, I've adapted parts of it to make a blend I like:

Halved the amount of brown sugar, reduced the honey slightly, omitted raisins (I find the blend sweet enough as is). The chocolate chips melt when I stir them in, giving the grains a nice chocolately coat that I love. If you like them whole, stir them in after baking instead. Both instant and regular oats work for this recipe, you just need to vary the baking time a little to the crunchiness you like.

More chocolate desserts:
> Death by chocolate cake
> Guinness chocolate cake
> Chocolately love
> 10 years young