Tuesday, February 17, 2015

granola bark.

My brother got me the Husk cookbook for Christmas and flipping through the pages has me longing for a trip to the South.  I usually don't feel the need to leave the tundra that is called the Northeast during the month of February (I personally don't mind hibernating) but this year I am feeling particularly antsy.  Not necessarily for the feeling of warmth (though I wouldn't mind some sunshine on my face) but just to explore, to get lost in a new place, to try something new.  Sometimes I feel lost when things feel stagnant.  

While I am still planning a trip to south of the Mason-Dixon line, I discovered I can bring a little bit of the south to me by spending an inordinate amount of money on Anson Mills flours and grains. Anson Mills is one of those places that is trying to resurrect the world of heirloom grains - the kind of thing we ate hundred's of years ago. It's a lofty goal, mostly because people aren't used to eating the heartier grains of the yesteryear but I encourage it.  It doesn't hurt that the hearty grains taste so good. 

So I bought graham flour and buckwheat flour and flatbread flour (which may ruin all other tortillas for me) but the best thing I bought was the 10 POUNDS OF OATS.  Yes - I now own 10 pounds of oats which means I will be eating oatmeal everyday for the next 7 months but I am OK with that. These oats are delightful.  Nutty and filling.  They have me craving breakfast.   They also have me searching for things to do with my plethora of oats (because 7 months of only oatmeal is a lot) and that is where the Anson Mills website comes in handy.  You see THEY GIVE YOU RECIPES so you know how to use their products which is how I stumbled across granola bark which is as if granola and a bar had a baby.    It makes for a fine breakfast and an equally wonderful afternoon snack.   

Granola Bark
Recipe adapted from Anson Mills

Feel free to mix up the add in's.  This is a great way to clean out the cabinets.  It also makes A LOT so feel free to share.  You're recipient will thank you.   

16 ounces (3 cups) old-fashioned oats
6 ounces (2 cups) raw sliced almonds
3 ounces (1 cup) unsweetened shredded coconut
4 ounces (1 cup) raw shelled sunflower or pumpkin seeds
2.3 ounces (1/2 cup) ground flaxseed
5.3 ounces (about 1 cup) dried cranberries, raisins, apricots, or some combination of all
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
5 ounces (10 tablespoons) unsalted European-style butter or coconut oil (or some combination of both)
9 ounces (scant 1 cup) honey or maple syrup
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
Line a large rimmed baking sheet (18 by 13 inches) with parchment paper and set it aside.
Place the oats, almonds, coconut, sunflower or pumpkin seeds, flax seed, dried fruit, and spices in a large mixing bowl and toss to combine.
Heat the butter or coconut oil and honey/maple syrup in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat until the butter melts. Stir in the salt and vanilla, and then pour the mixture over the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until the dry ingredients are evenly moistened. Turn the granola onto the prepared baking sheet and press firmly with an offset spatula to create an even layer about ½ inch thick. Cover and refrigerate overnight, time and space permitting.
Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 250 degrees. Bake the granola until it is firm to the touch and deep golden brown, about 1¼ hours. Let cool in the baking sheet; the granola will become crisper as it cools.
When cooled and crisp, lift an edge of the parchment paper to loosen the bark and break the granola into pieces. Store in zipper-lock plastic bags at cool room temperature. The granola will keep at the height of its texture and flavor for 2 weeks. Serve with dried or fresh fruit and milk or yogurt, or eat out of hand.

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