Homemade Cranberry Almond Granola

I love cereal, so I knew swearing off of packaged foods for a month would be tough because I would have to give up my beloved Honey Bunches of Oats. To satiate my cereal yearnings, I decided to try to make homemade granola. I was surprised at just how easy granola is to make and I chastised myself for not making it sooner! This is a recipe you can definitely play with and make your own.

Homemade Granola

2 cups of rolled oats

3 T of honey

2T of brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon of salt

2 T of butter

1/2 cup of slivered almonds

1/4 cup of shelled sunflower seeds

1/3 cup of dried cranberries

Set your oven on low broil. Spread your oats out on a cookie sheet and put in the oven for about 5-7 mins. Depending on your oven settings you’ll want to keep an eye on them. Your job is to lightly toast the oats, not to char them. Turn the oven off.

Meanwhile in a skillet, combine honey, brown sugar, butter, vanilla and salt. Stir until butter melts. Then add your toasted oats and let it cook for another 5 minutes. Then stir in your almonds and sunflower seeds and allow it to cook for a few minutes. Finally add your cranberries or other dried fruit.

Spread the mixture back onto your cookie sheet and put it back in your oven (make sure the oven is turned off). Doing this will continue to dry out your oats and make the granola crunchier. Let the mixture sit for about 20-30 minutes in the warm oven.

If you want the granola to stick together more in clusters, add some additional honey and butter. I wanted mine looser like cereal.


Sweet & Savory Apple Cinnamon Coffe Cake

Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake

There are two things that you should know about me before we go any further, dear readers.  1) Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day.  And, 2) I will choose sleeping in over getting up in the morning every time.  What this means is that I love cooking and eating delicious things for breakfast, but alas that never happens on a week day.  During the week, I have a quick and easy fiber bar for breakfast every morning.  While not totally delectable, it gets the job done.  Meanwhile, all week I look forward to the weekend, when I will be able to make something much more interesting and decadent – and all at the much more reasonable hour of 10am.

This weekend, I was having some lovely lady friends over for brunch on Saturday and I knew that I wanted to make something special.  Over the last several weekends,  I have been forced to get creative with egg dishes because our chickens are way out-pacing us with their egg production.  But today, I put my foot down.  I was going eggless.

So, I headed for my grandmother’s recipe box.  For those of you who are arriving fashionably late, I am slowly working my way through all of my grandmother’s recipes over the course of a year.  I found a delightful sounding recipe for apple cinnamon coffee cake, which calls for nary an egg.  Eggcellent.  Forgive me, I just couldn’t resist!  (If you click on the image, it will enlarge the recipe so that you can read it better.)

Apple Cinnamon Coffe Cake Recipe

Apple Cinnamon Coffe Cake, Part 2

This recipe is fairly easy if you have a food processor, or do not mind cutting in butter by hand.  Me, I’d rather hand hoe an entire football field than cut in butter by hand.  But, I realize that you may feel differently.  Heck, you might even enjoy it.  If you are one of those people, we might need to talk.  But, I digress.  The first step is adding all of the dry ingredients to your food processor and mixing them together briefly.

Mix the dry ingredients together.

Next, add your butter is small pieces to the food processor and give it another really good mix.  You should end up with what looks like fine sand.

Cutting in the butter

Then, the last step of making the dough is adding milk to the food processor and mixing it to form a soft, pliable dough.

The dough should be soft and pliable.

With floured hands, scoop the dough out of the food processor and pat it into the bottom of a greased, 8-inch pan.  Don’t worry if your top looks lumpy.  You’ll be covering it!

Pat the dough into an 8-inch, greased pan.

Next, you are going to peel and slice 2 and 1/2 apples up into thin slices and place them, overlapping on the top.  I used one Granny Smith and two Fuji apples.  I thought it provided just the right about of sweet to pair with the more savory dough.

Lay the apples, overlapped, on the top.

Lastly, dot the apples with butter and mix the sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl and them pour it over the top of the apples.  I didn’t end up using all the cinnamon/sugar mixture.  I tend to like recipes less sweet than what they call for.

Ready for the oven!

Then, place the dish in a 375 degree oven for 40-45 minutes.  I think I ended up cooking mine for about 55 minutes.  When you take it out of the oven it should be nice and bubbly and golden brown.

I love the way this coffee cake turned out.  I don’t like super sweet things for breakfast.  It had the perfect balance of slightly salty (the dough) and sweet (the baked apples).  Give it a try for yourself and let me know if you agree!

The finished dish!

Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake