This isn’t your average, local dive-bar granola, my friends. Hah. Ok, the pun is out there.
This is what I call “Seedy Granola,” and ever since it came out of the oven I can’t keep my hot little hands off of it. Lately, I have been searching for recipes for a non-meal entity. Most people call it a snack. So, a snack I made.
The kind of snack that I’ve been on the lookout for is something filling, to tide me over between meals if I need something during the day. I left the grocery store empty-handed, since many of the granola bars and snack bars look good, but aren’t quite right. They either have too much sugar, too many calories and not enough content, or too many ingredients that I can’t pronounce (“methyl-ethyl-bad-shit” as The Man calls these additives). So I decided that granola was the snack of choice, and that it wasn’t something that was out of my reach.
My other reason for making granola is that I have been looking for an opportunity to try out chia seeds. They are exactly what you’re thinking (ch-ch-ch chia!) since they are, in fact, the seeds that people used to paste on ceramic animals. A strange fad, but still better than pet rocks. I miss quality 80’s jingles.
Chia seeds have a number of health benefits, despite their tiny size (they look very much like poppy seeds, only more oval-shaped than round). These seeds contain omega-3 fatty acid, significant levels of protein and dietary fiber, and 6 major antioxidants. The best part: they have very little flavor. This means that you can add these nutrient-dense seeds to just about anything, without altering the flavor of the dish. Chia seeds are an effortless way to add essential elements to your diet.
My seedy granola came out great – I couldn’t have been happier. It is at the same time healthy, nutrient-dense, fruity & nutty, moist, and delicious. This stuff takes no time to pull together, and it’s excellent with tea – my nightly ritual.
- 2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
- 1 cup sliced almonds
- 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
- 1/3 cup flax seeds
- 1/3 cup chia seeds
- 2/3 cup honey
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup dried apricots (cut into small cubes)
- 1/2 cup raisins
Butter an 8×12-inch baking dish. Line it with parchment paper, and then butter the parchment paper. This sounds strange, but by buttering the dish and then sticking parchment paper on top you are anchoring the paper, so that when you stir the granola (later) the paper won’t move. By then buttering the paper, you make sure the granola doesn’t stick to the paper. This is key. More on that later. Pre-heat your oven at 350°F.
Mix together your oatmeal, almonds, and coconut and put on a sheet pan (this is not your buttered & papered baking dish). Bake this mixture for 10 minutes until it turns a light brown. After 10 minutes, take the mixture out of the oven, and pour it into a large mixing bowl. Turn down your oven to 300°F.
To the bowl, add your honey, vanilla and salt. Mix well so the honey is evenly distributed. Toss in the apricots, raisins, flax seeds, and chia seeds, mixing well again. Pour the mixture into your buttered & papered baking dish and (using a rubber spatula) press the mixture until it is as flat and dense as you can get it.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until it is a light golden brown. Now the hard part: keep away for 2 to 3 hours to let it completely set. Once you’ve undergone substantial torture, use a serrated knife to cut into it. My attempt at cutting the granola into squares (which is completely possible with this recipe) was disastrous, since I didn’t butter the parchment paper well enough. I had some severe adhering issues…. and ended up with parchment paper-enhanced granola. Not a problem – I was able to peel the paper off the back, but the end result was granola piles instead of granola bars. Equally as delicious, but perhaps not as aesthetically pleasing.