Maple-Nut Granola

maple-nut granola - trust in kim

For breakfast I usually eat a bowl of fruit and homemade yogurt.  It’s so delicious, but I find sometimes it’s not enough to get me through the morning.  I haven’t made granola in ages, so I thought this would be a good time to rework an old recipe. I’ve used maple syrup for a little sweetness, and a bit of olive oil to make it nice and crunchy.  I think the amount of sugar and fat are quite reasonable, especially when you look at the fat and sugar content of commercial granolas.  The nuts themselves have a high fat content, but it’s a healthy fat, and one of the reasons why  serving of granola should be small.

What you need:

2 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup raw almonds, roughly chopped

1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped

1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

What you do:

1. Preheat the oven to 300F.

2. Combine the oats, almonds, pecans, walnuts and salt in a large bowl.  Add the oil,maple syrup and vanilla to this and combine thoroughly.

3. Spread this mixture evenly on a baking tray.  Bake for 2o minutes.

4. Add the pumpkin seeds and coconut to the baking tray and combine with the other ingredients.  I like to add these later in the cooking process so they don’t get too toasty.

5. Return the pan to the oven and bake for another 20 minutes.  You will want to watch it towards the end of the cooking time, just in case your oven in running a little hot.  The granola should be a golden colour, but not browned.  I think it tastes burnt when it gets browned.

6. Allow to cool completely on the baking tray, then store in an airtight container.

Healthy Homemade Maple Granola

Commercial granolas have a lot of sugar, fat and even salt added, so I tried to stay away from adding a lot of those to this recipe.  Nuts contain a lot of fat, but it’s a healthy fat, so you’re okay if you eat a moderate portion.  Two of the things I like about making my own granola are:  I know exactly what’s going in it, and I can change the ingredients to suit my own taste and what I happen to have on hand.  So feel free to substitute for your favourite nuts and seeds.  Do beware that some seeds, like flax and sesame, are more freely digested and therefore benefited from, if they have been ground  – probably not the best choices for substituting here.

What you need:

4 cups rolled oats

1/4 cup raw almonds

1/2 cup dried, not roasted, pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds

1/4 cup coconut ribbon or other unsweetened,dried coconut

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 tablespoon butter (or oil for vegan and lactose-free)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

dash of salt

optional: 1/4 cup raisins or other dried fruit

What you do:

1.  Combine the oats, almonds, pumpkin and sunflower seeds in a large bowl.

2.  Melt the butter and add the vanilla, salt and maple syrup to it.  Stir this liquid into the nut and oat mixture.

3.  Spread evenly onto a baking sheet, and bake at 350F for about 30 minutes.  Set the timer for 10 minutes, then give it a stir.  Stir again after another 10 minutes, then check and stir every five minutes until it is golden brown.  If you can hear the pumpkin seeds popping you know it’s done.

4.  Remove from the oven to cool and add the coconut and optional dried fruit.  I prefer to add the fruit with each serving rather than adding to the recipe, so the fruit stays moist and the granola stays crunchy.  That way I can also vary the type of fruit I add, whether it be dried (if I need to take it ‘to go’) or fresh.

5.  Store in an airtight container.  Of you think it will take you more than a few weeks to consume or give away parts of this recipe, it’s a good idea to keep it in the fridge.  Because  nuts oil they are susceptible to spoiling – refrigeration helps avoid this problem.

Broccoli Salad with Yogurt Dressing

Broccoli is packed with Vitamins C, K & A, as well as folic acid, fibre and a whole bunch of other nutrients.  So the challenge is to find new ways to serve it up, and preferably raw, as that’s the best way to keep all the valuable nutrients intact, or so they say.  I’ve adapted this recipe from one I found on everybodylikessandwiches.com.  I prefer to add the nuts and dried cherries on top – the nuts stay crisper, and the fruit looks prettier.  If you’re serving it all right away and plan to have no leftovers, you can get away with tossing it all together.

This one can be whipped up in no time at all!

What you need:

1 head broccoli, broken into small pieces

2 tablespoons finely diced red onion

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

3 tablespoons plain yogurt (I don’t use low-fat yogurt ever!)

juice of 1/2 lemon

a few dashes of hot sauce

1-2 teaspoons honey

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds

1/4 cup dried cherries, cut in half (or raisins or cranberries)

What you do:

1.  Toast the almonds – I do this is a dry frying pan on my stove top.  I just heat it to medium-low, then give it a stir every once in a while, keeping an eye on it do it doesn’t burn.

2.  Combine mayonnaise, yogurt, lemon juice, hot sauce, honey, salt and pepper.

3.  Put the broccoli and onions in a bowl and toss them with the dressing.

4.  Top with dried cherries and almonds just before serving.

Nut Crusted Portobello Mushroom Appetizer

These mushrooms are full of flavour!

What you need:

2 portobello mushrooms

1/2 cup ground almonds

2 tablespoons grated parmesan

salt

pepper

1 egg

olive oil

What you do:

1.  Place ground almonds, cheese, salt and pepper in a bowl.  In another bowl, crack the egg and beat it up a little.

2.  Remove the stems and clean mushrooms with a damp cloth – if you clean them in water they will absorb too much water.  Cut the mushrooms into strips, a few centimetres wide.

3.  Coat each mushroom strip in egg, then the almond mixture.

4.  Heat a frying pan on medium heat, then add a little olive oil.  When the oil is hot, add the mushrooms.  They should not be overlapping.  Cook on each side for a few minutes, until they become golden on all sides.

5.  Serve them on their own, or with a bit of mayo on the side.

Chocolate Dipped Chocolate-Almond Biscotti

And the people thus spake, “We have tasted of this New Biscotti, and it is good.”

And so, upon the day of the Feast of Lights at English Bay, many ate of the biscotti and were satisfied.

Thus it came to pass that the people proclaimed the recipe to be of high quality, and henceforth deemed worthy of the masses.

And so it shall be revealed unto thee:

What you need:

1 & 1/4 cups peeled almonds, toasted

1/2 cup butter

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup flour

1 cup cocoa powder

1 & 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

2 eggs

3/4 cup white sugar

1 tablespoon almond extract

for the chocolate dip:

5oz chocolate

2 tablespoons butter

What you do:

1.  Use a coffee grinder or food processor to finely grind toasted almonds.

2.  Mix 1/2 cup of the butter and 1 cup of the almonds, along with the salt, until it is fluffy.

3.  Whisk eggs, sugar and almond extract in a large bowl.

4.  Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder and hand-mix into the egg mixture.

5.  Add the nut and butter mixture, and stir until it is just incorporated.

6.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, and form the dough into two long, flat logs. I like my biscotti to be a bit smaller, so if you want larger cookies, then make one log and add about five minutes to the baking time.

7.  Bake at 350F for 25 minutes.  When it comes out of the oven, allow it to cool on the pan for about half an hour.

8.  Slice the logs into cookies, and put them back on the parchment paper.  Bake for 15 minutes more, then cool on wire racks.

9.  Melt the butter and chocolate in a double boiler (I use a pot with a bowl on top).  The key here is to make sure you don’t get any water into the chocolate; it will seize up and become clumpy.

10.  Dip each cooled biscotti in the chocolate (I had to spread it on a bit), then sprinkle a little of the remaining almond flour on top of each.

Coconut Mango Cookies

These cookies have just the right  crispy-chewyness to please a whole lot of people at one time.  This recipe makes quite a few cookies, so you can either bake them all up at once, or put some of the rolls of dough in the freezer.

You can substitute apricots for the dried mango, and hazelnuts, brazil or macadamia for the almonds.

You do need to plan ahead a bit, as the dough needs to be refrigerated for about an hour before baking.  The toasted almonds also need to cool before you can add them to the batter.

What you need:

3/4 cup butter

1 cup sugar

1 egg

2 cups flour

1 & 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups shredded sweetened coconut

1/2 cup dried mango or apricot

1/2 cup toasted almonds

What you do:

1.  Toast almonds and allow to cool, then chop them.

2.  Beat room temperature butter with sugar until fluffy and light in colour.  Beat in egg.

3.  Add flour, baking powder and salt, then mix with a wooden spoon, being careful not to over-mix.

4.  Stir in nuts, chopped fruit and coconut.

5.  Form into 4 logs, about 3 cm in diameter, and wrap in plastic wrap.  Place in the fridge for about an hour.  If you are going to freeze for later use, add another layer of protection by putting them into a plastic bag.

6.  Let the logs sit for about 15 minutes, then carefully cut into slices just less than 1 cm thick, with a serrated knife.  It can be a little tricky to make this work neatly, but it helps if you use a sawing motion.  When I ruined a few, I just hand-formed them and made them into “tasters.”  Everybody likes to taste your baking!

7.  Place on ungreased cookie sheets and bake for 8-10 minutes at 350 F or until lightly browned, a little longer if you prefer crispier cookies.  For added decadence, you can sprinkle a tiny bit of sugar onto the top of each cookie before baking.  I used vanilla sugar and the result was amazing!

8.  Store in an airtight container.  They keep well for about a week.

My Best Biscotti – even Oma loves them

This is one of my alltime most popular recipes, and I am honoured that even my Oma adores them, as I have adored so much of her baking.

These biscotti don’t need to be dunked, as they are crispy and easy to bite on their own.  You can dunk them if you want to, or enjoy the flavour on it’s own.

You need:

1/2 cup butter

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon anise liquor OR 1 teaspoon anise extract

2 cups + 2 tablespoons white flour

1  1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted

3/4 cup semisweet chocolate

1 tablespoon anise seeds, toasted

What to do:

1. Toast anise seeds in a frying pan, then crush with a mortar and pestle.  If you choose not to do this, then add ground anise or fennel seeds.

2. Toast almond slivers in a frying pan until slightly browned and allow to cool.  They are easy to burn, so watch carefully – I usually keep them on low while I start making the cookie dough.

3. Cream the butter, then add sugar, then eggs one at a time and beat until fluffy.  Beat in vanilla and anise liquor.

4. Combine dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until just incorporated.  Add chocolate and nuts and stir until just combined.

5. Divide the dough into two pieces.  With floured hands form into two logs on a baking sheet.  Bake at 325F for 25-30 minutes.

6. Slice the baked rolls diagonally and place on a baking sheet.  Lower the oven to 300F and bake for 10-15 minutes, until slightly browned.  Turn over and bake for another 10-15, until that side is also slightly browned.

7. Place on cooling racks, then package and give to people you love or are trying to impress.   They keep for quite a long time – which is why they were invented in the first place.  Of course, they are the best right off the cooing rack, so don’t forget to enjoy one.  Or two.