basic has 3 meanings. you've probably heard of the common, merriam-webster accepted definitions; the one pertaining to pH/chemistry (acidic v basic) and the one that describes the essential parts of something. i know at least 1 reader (not naming names, but it's definitely my mom) who doesn't know the third one: the millennial/urban dictionary form. hint: it's synonymous with overdone, unoriginal, mainstream. so while talking about granola (and salad; a form of it will be forthcoming) on a food blog in january could be construed as completely basic, coconut almond cluster granola isn't basic at all (though a couple of friends would probably use this granola as evidence of my lame gramz/grandma status).
melissa clark (the author of this coconut almond cluster granola and overall granola goddess despite my disagreement with her clumping methods) has you pinch the unbaked granola to make clumps, and then carefully try to flip these over without breaking them up. but this pinching is so tedious and frankly hard to do; my attempts didn't merit much besides crumbling mole hills of muesli. and there is no way to gently flip those carefully crafted clumps and keep them intact. ha.
instead, i recommend smooshing the granola very well with the back of a massive spatula before you bake it, and upon flipping the granola (so that everything gets toasty), resmoosh it again. and cooling completely is sososo important. i'm just as impatient as you (probably more), but waiting is worth in this case.
the final coconut almond cluster granola is a bit on the sweet side, but i'd be loath to decrease the amount of sweetener involved. suck it up for the clumps! the sweetness gets tempered when you eat it with milk or yogurt though, so i'd highly recommend that (if you're rolling your eyes bc you NEVER eat granola/cereal dry, well, good for you, congrats, you're ahead of this formerly dry cereal only writer).
no matter what, the granola is crunchy and crisp, with plenty of almonds. the coconut adds some richness, and the spices make it cozy, making it the least basic granola on the block.
- ½ cup + 1 tablespoon coconut or olive oil
- ⅔ cup maple syrup or honey
- ⅔ cup packed turbinado or light brown sugar
- ⅔ cup coconut or almond milk
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 5 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger or cardamom
- 1 cup sliced almonds
- ½ cup pumpkin seeds
- ½ cup sunflower seeds or use more pumpkin seeds or almonds
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the oils, maple syrup, sugar, milk and salt and bring to a simmer. When sugar has dissolved, stir in the vanilla and cool slightly.
In a food processor, grind 1 ¼ cups oats and ¼ cup coconut into a flour. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in remaining oats and coconut, the spices, the nuts and the seeds. Pour maple syrup mixture over and stir to combine. Let sit 10 minutes.
Spread the mixture onto 2 parchment or Silpat lined baking sheets, using a spatula to press the mixture together into a packed layer.
Bake at 350F for 40 to 50 minutes, flipping the mixture halfway through (if it comes apart, then just resmush with your spatula), or until golden brown (it might be a touch dark, but that's okay) all over. Cool completely (I mean it! Do you want clumps or not?).
Adapted slightly from Melissa Clark via NYT Cooking.
as if there wasn't enough basicness: here's my new years resolutions.
- go to the gym 3+ times/week (i used to go 5 times/week but that was when i was motivated to avoid my roommate; i don't need to avoid anyone now that i have a single aka i don't workout that much oops)
- get motivated to study before finals week (preferably week 1 but we shall see)
- 8 hours of sleep every night (somehow on my earliest days, i sleep the latest WHY)
what are yours?