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12.08.2004

Granola: when darkness looms, or anytime

Winter in the Pacific Northwest means dusk at 3:30 in the afternoon, with sunset around 4:15. Six in the evening might as well be midnight. When I look out my rain-streaked window at 5pm, I’m met with the luminous glow of wet asphalt under the streetlamps in the grocery-store parking lot. So picturesque you are, Seattle.

These long, cold nights and short, dark days call for rousing breakfasts. We’ve all got to stoke the proverbial fire, but in winter such small rituals feel truly fortifying, somehow more deeply nourishing than during summer’s more carefree months.

That said, I should admit that — regardless of the season, gentle reader — each day I wake expressly for the purpose of eating the exact same breakfast.* Never mind the bus I’ve got to catch or the work to be done. Nothing can keep me from my crimson glass breakfast bowl.

Behold, the routine:
1. Get out of bed;
2. Put on fleecy black bathrobe;
3. Wash face and put in contact lenses;
4. Turn on NPR;
5. Enter kitchen;
6. Pour glass of water, preferably cool to cold;
7. Take down aforementioned bowl from shelf;
8. Deposit in bowl two handfuls of Heritage O’s cereal, a few spoonfuls of granola and a few of raisins, and big scoops of Brown Cow plain yogurt;
9. Thoroughly mix contents of bowl with spoon; and
10. Eat.

As mystic G. I. Gurdjieff said about something, “everything else is nothing.”

Now, maybe you're raising your eyebrows. Granted, this breakfast won’t win any awards for aesthetic value, and it certainly wasn’t crafted with what one typically thinks of as a gourmande’s spirit. But honey, it certainly fills the void within. And regardless of your stance on plain yogurt or health-foody cereals, this homemade granola is mighty toothsome: amber-brown, hearty but delicate, fragrant with cinnamon and orange zest, toasty with almonds.

Morning is not to be missed, even when it’s still dark outside.


*Sometimes there’s Irish oatmeal, but not often. There’s also the occasional homemade scone. But honestly, variety in breakfast food is overrated.


Rancho La Puerta Granola
Adapted from The Rancho La Puerta Cookbook: 175 Bold Vegetarian Recipes from America’s Premier Fitness Spa, with thanks to jolly Bill Wavrin



3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
½ cup chopped raw almonds
½ cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup whole-wheat flour
¼ cup oat or wheat bran
1 Tbs ground cinnamon
¾ tsp ground ginger
¾ tsp ground cardamom
¾ cup honey
½ cup unsweetened, unfiltered apple juice
1 Tbs vanilla extract
2 tsp canola oil
2 tsp grated orange zest
2 Tbs fresh orange juice

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Lightly coat a baking sheet with vegetable oil spray.

In a large mixing bowl, combine rolled oats, almonds, sunflower seeds, flour, bran, cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom.

In another bowl, whisk together honey, apple juice, vanilla, and oil until the honey is thoroughly incorporated. Add the orange zest and orange juice.

Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and mix well. Spread the granola evenly over the baking sheet and bake for 1 ½ to 2 hours, checking every 15 or so minutes. When the granola begins to brown, stir and turn over gently with a spatula. Take care that the outside edges do not burn. Your house or apartment should, by this point, smell spectacular. When golden and dry, scrape onto a cool baking sheet and set aside to cool. Granola will crisp as it cools. Store in an airtight container, preferably in the refrigerator.

16 Comments:

Blogger amylou said...

Regarding Heritage O's: full support. I could use a dose of whole foods type brands right now. For a short while in 2003 I was really into Optimum Power cereal. It has like 70g of fiber and 300g of protein per serving. After about a week, though, it started to taste like the bionic food product that it was. It was also wildly expensive. Aparently that much fiber don't come cheap.

The granola sounds right up my alley and eventually I might have to try replacing my beloved Frusli brand with it. By the way, I think you'd like the yoghurt in Sweden. It's a little bit thinner so it comes in milk cartons. The only downside is the rather repulsive yoghurt build up on the paper rim.

12:43 PM, December 08, 2004  
Blogger evelyn said...

On really rough mornings I like some maple syrup on top of mine. And a few dried cranberries.

4:12 AM, December 09, 2004  
Blogger Molly said...

Ah yes, Amy, high fiber is the name of the game. And that yogurt sounds wonderful. The plain yogurt I used to buy in France was also on the thin-and-runny side--although it didn't come in cartons, which sounds oh-so-exotic. Those Europeans really know how to do yogurt.

And Evelyn, so nice of you to visit! Funny, just after seeing your comment, I received an e-mail from my uncle Arnie in which he offered his granola recipe--featuring maple syrup! There really is nothing like that deep, sweet flavor, especially on a rough morning.

5:30 PM, December 09, 2004  
Blogger valori said...

Hi Molly, I tried this granola, but it came out jawbreaker hard. :/ Any suggestions for round 2? - v

8:56 PM, October 11, 2007  
Blogger Molly said...

Valori, I'm so sorry to hear that. I haven't made this granola in a year or so, to be perfectly honest, so I'm not sure what to tell you. This is a very crunchy granola - crunchier than most, even - but it shouldn't put your jaw in danger! Eeek! I wish I could be of more help. I can tell you one thing, though: if you're looking for a good granola recipe, you might also try the one from Nigella Lawson's Feast. It's terrific.

9:47 PM, October 14, 2007  
Anonymous amanda said...

No tea or coffee or nothing? I've always been impressed with people who can start the day without at least a cup of tea. Impressed and sort of frightened by. Is that terrible?

6:59 PM, February 06, 2008  
Blogger selena said...

thanks! this is very tasty! i also added some sesame and flax. yum.

6:34 PM, March 26, 2008  
Blogger Rosiecat said...

I love this essay because I really love the simple pleasures of routine: breakfast, shower, sip chai latte. That sort of thing.

I was reluctant to say anything about my experience with this granola recipe because I hate to leave a negative comment on a blog I love so much, but my batch of this granola was NOT GOOD. It was hard (not just crunchy, but HARD), overspiced, and undersweetened. I don't know if I'm alone in my granola displeasure, but I wanted to share just to give other readers a heads-up.

On the other hand, the French Chocolate Granola is fabulous and totally, totally addictive. So there you go: I'm one for two with Orangette granolas.

6:07 PM, June 21, 2008  
Anonymous ellen said...

I made this yesterday (yay!) and had to take it out of the oven after 2 hours because my dad needed to cook dinner. but I didn't find it too hard. and I usually find granola far too sweet, but this one was great. I also added in some chopped dried apricots straight after it came out. will definitely be making it again.

2:09 AM, April 20, 2009  
Anonymous Kelsey said...

The recipe looks great. Do you know how many cups it makes?

7:48 PM, July 16, 2009  
Blogger Molly said...

Kelsey, I'm not sure exactly how many cups this makes, but I'm guessing about a quart.

9:08 AM, July 18, 2009  
Anonymous chavi said...

Hi - Just saw your everyday granola recipe in Bon Appetit - I've been making my own granola for years - I've discovered a way to make it without oil and it sticks together just fine. I whisk 3 egg whites with 1/3 cup honey or pure maple syrup and mix it all together - it seems to do the trick!

9:37 AM, June 03, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've tried making this recipe 3 times and it came out kind of "rubbery". I made it again and left out the honey and the oil, and added 1/3 cup each of sesame seeds, poppy seeds, and ground flax seeds. Then toasted it as directed and it has the crispy consistency
I was looking for. I don't add honey when I'm eating it, but add fruit instead -- grapes are wonderful with it especially in the fall.

5:20 AM, November 08, 2010  
Blogger Chickpea said...

I noticed the recipe calls for wheat flour--did you mean wheat germ?

12:12 PM, November 09, 2011  
Blogger Molly said...

My apologies for the delay in this reply, Chickpea! The recipe is correct as written. It's whole wheat flour.

11:11 AM, November 25, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's extra easy and cheap to make your own runny yogurt if you have a thermos bottle of some sort. I use a 1 quart thermos coffee server. Here's what you do...
Makes 1 quart.
1. Buy a small cup of your favorite yogurt that has live organisms to use for culture.
2. Heat 3 cups of milk to near boiling. Put the lid on to let it cool down to about 104 degrees. Feels a little warmer than body temperature. Never too hot, it will kill your organisms.
3. Put the cup of yogurt into the warm milk, stir well.
4. Pour into your thermos, cap and let sit for 8-12 hours. It gets firmer and more acidic over time. (I like it at 8 hrs, mild and runny))
5. Pour your yogurt into a quart jar with tight cover. Add sweetner, fruit, flavoring to suit. I like a squirt of stevia (natural sweetner) and a teaspoon of vanilla. Cap and gently shake. Refrigerate. Serve over granola...I never get tired of it! Yum!
Tips:
--Don't use aluminum pans, utensils, or storage containers for yogurt, it's slightly acidic.
--Use very clean thermos, and start each batch with a purchased yoghurt cup. Wild yeast and bacteria from the environment can easily contaminate it and you'll end up with sour milk.

8:24 PM, June 04, 2012  

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