Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Coconut Granola with Cashews and Cranberries

Let's talk granola, shall we?

It's no secret I love the stuff: loose or in bar form, it's a staple of my diet. Most of the time I make huge batches of the granola recipe my mother perfected. It's pretty simple -- I actually don't want my granola too fluffed up with multiple dried fruits and nuts. I'd rather add my favorites: sliced bananas, blueberries, or a dollop of almond butter after I've sprinkled granola on yogurt or poured it into a cupful of warm milk.

But the granola recipe I'm sharing now is a little bit fancier. Think of it as granola that got gussied up. This is the stuff to bag and send to a friend with a new baby or serve with rich whole milk yogurt in a decadent (but still healthful) weekend parfait.

This recipe -- based on one written by Melissa Clark -- uses creamy coconut oil as a base that is layered with cinnamon, nutmeg, maple syrup, brown sugar, cashews, coconut chips and cranberries. The result is entirely addictive, so much so that there were afternoons I really could convince myself I wanted yogurt as a snack only to discover after a few bites in that my healthy urge was really just a vehicle for consuming large amounts cereal. When I realized this, I'd pile on another hefty scoop. You can say a lot of things about me, but at least I'm not in denial.

This granola is so good that at times it has seemed downright necessary, just like our weekly loaf (or two) of Acme walnut bread, the perfect glossy avocado, or the container of whipping cream I claim is for a recipe but secretly sneak into my dark coffee each morning.

This granola has fueled our tired, achy household through a number of tough weeks. But it's also been carried North where it was placed in a pretty bowl and served as a part of a ladies brunch after a dear friend's baby shower.

It's been dependable, just like our friends and family have been this month, and just like you have been, too. I wasn't at all nervous to write about the particular misery of a sick parent (it was something I just had to do, you know?) but I wouldn't have been surprised, if after pushing post on what was undoubtedly one of the most dismal Valentine's Day missives ever, nothing happened. Bad things occur all the time, I thought. Why would anyone care about my rough patch?

But you did, and you do. There were lovely public comments and many personal ones. Sarah wrote me an e-mail so full of fierce and incredulous emotion, that even though we've never met (I couldn't even pick her pretty face out of a crowd) I feel like we've shared a big bottle of wine and some stray tears.

So. My belief in the persistent good in the world, though never really waning, has been re-inspired. Thank you. And if I could, I'd send you all a bag of this granola, or better yet -- invite you over for a bowlful. For now, this recipe will have to do.

Coconut Granola with Cashews and Cranberries
(Based on a recipe by Melissa Clark, I switched pecans for cashews and cranberries for cherries. I also upped the amount of oats to produce a less sweet -- but still plenty toothsome-- granola. 

5 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cups cashew halves
1 cup coconut chips
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup virgin coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 cup dried cranberries

1. Preheat the oven to 300° F.
2. In a large bowl, combine the oats, cashews coconut chips, maple syrup, coconut oil, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Spread the mixture on a rimmed baking sheet in an even layer and bake until golden all over, about 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
3. Transfer the granola to a large bowl and add the cranberries, tossing to combine. Store in a glass jar with tight-fitting lid or other airtight container. 


Megan Taylor said...

I've been NEEDING a new granola recipe. Love the ingredients in this one! Can't wait to make :)


lgk said...

I just had to write and tell you that I own Melissa Clark's Cook This Now, saw her Double Coconut Granola recipe and instantly thought "Hmm, I wonder if that would work with cashews and cranberries?" A quick Google search pulled up your interpretation. Great minds think alike! Thank you!

Anne Zimmerman said...

Indeed! I'm very fond of the cashew cranberry combo. However, I made a new version recently (lots of nuts and a little maple syrup). Stay tuned!