Thursday, September 29, 2011

Homemade Granola

Every weekday morning I eat yogurt with almonds sprinkled on top. But after almost 2 years (yes, years), I decided to switch it up a little bit. Instead of going to the store and getting granola, I embarked on an online recipe search to see what making my own granola would entail.

Turns out almost all granola recipes are pretty much the same. Take some rolled oats, and your favorite seeds, nuts, things like that and then some honey and brown sugar. It's so easy to make (2 steps!) and you avoid the struggle of trying to find one at the store that has all of your favorite things (i.e. sunflower seeds) and none of the things you don't particularly care for (i.e. dried cherries). The recipe below is based off of
this recipe from The Kitchen Sink, it's super simple and makes your house smell heavenly!

Homemade Granola
adapted from The Kitchen Sink
3 1/2 cups rolled oats

3 tablespoons sesame seeds

2 tablespoons sunflower seeds

1 tablespoon flax seeds

1/2 cup chopped pecans

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup coconut flakes, unsweetened

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon real maple syrup

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Preheat your oven to 350 F. Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Spread the mixture onto a cookie sheet.

2. Bake for 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to keep the granola from burning. Cool completely and then remove from the pan. Store in an airtight container.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Brown Butter Shortbread

You may have noticed that I haven't posted a baked good in a while, which is pretty unlike me. I could blame the last vestiges of summer, the long summer associate interview process, that hurricane, or the start of the semester, but really the reason is the kitchen in our new apartment. But I took the words of a facebook friend ("gas is gas, temp is temp") to heart and bit the bullet.

The result? Deliciously yummy shortbread that will pair perfectly with my tea this evening and my yogurt tomorrow morning. So while my current stove is nothing like the stainless steel beauty PC Richards is waiting to deliver, it apparently works well enough to make cookies with. Which is pretty fabulous news!

Brown Butter Shortbread
(adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
I never miss an opportunity to brown butter in baked goods, but reading in the comments where the recipe was originally posted it was noted that browning the butter here leads to a "sandy" texture. I think that's true, but if you are diligent about cooling your dough and then the cookies once baked, it is not a cookie-killer and taste is certainly more complex and delicious. It's your call.

1 1/2 sticks of butter, melted and browned (see note above)

6 tbsp granulated sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups flour

Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling

1. Melt and brown your butter. In a medium bowl, mix butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla until combined. Add flour and stir until just combined.

2. Cover a small baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the mixture until even (your fingers are the perfect tool for this).

3. Let sit for 1 hour on the counter and then transfer for a 2nd hour in the fridge. Before you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 300 F. Bake for 45 minutes.

4. Remove from oven, leaving your oven on. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Let cool for 10 minutes.

5. Carefully cut the shortbread into long "fingers" and then bake for another 15 minutes.

6. Remove from the oven and cool completely before eating. Let them spend some time in the fridge for extra firmness.