Friday, August 30, 2013

Granola for Grown-Ups

Pecan Pie Granola with Yogurt and Fresh Peaches - YUM!
In the last 50 years (or so) granola has become a stable breakfast food in most homes.  You can make it at home, you can buy it at the market or on the internet, and you can order it in a restaurant.  There's millions (well literally hundreds) of recipes available.  Doing a browser search I came up with more than 30 pages of recipes.

We all know granola is generally made up of things like rolled oats, nuts, dried fruits and some sort of sweetner (honey, agave nectar,  sugar,  molassas,  fruit jam, etc.), but after checking what's available on line, OMG, this stuff has come a long way!  Now you'd think what could they do to granola? Well let me tell you, I found exotic flavors and ingredients like gingersnap, sweet and salty caramel, cafe mocha, chai spice, and extra deep, dark chocolate ---- a whole next generation of granola.

Unlike the original mundane breakfast cereal, this stuff will rock your morning and really is "ice cream worthy".  The descriptive explanations for these mixtures sound more like tasting notes for a fine wine; "with just the right note of salt, a depth of flavor from olive oil, cardamom and maple syrup, and sweet nibbles of dried fruit".  I'd call it a granola renaissance.  As with coffee, chocolate, beer, and food in general, we have taken granola up to a new level, a level where we love to indulge all our senses, as well as verbal decadence.
Pecan Pie Granola

Which brings me to the real reason for my new found interest in the crunchy mix.  A couple of weeks ago I received a package from my daughter-in-law.  The label said, "Pecan Pie Granola" which was a special concoction invented in her kitchen.  I love pecan pie -  I was intriqued.  The next morning I got out my low fat yogurt and milk and commence to partake. It was divine with fresh peaches.  It was divine! After a call to my daughter-in-law, I found out the secret ingredients, or should I say ingredient.  For all you needed to do is look at the stuff and figure out what is in the mix, but she added something else, something that really put it over the top.  Something I cannot devulge for fear of excommunication.

Regardless, it got me to thinking and being a creative, brainstorming kind of person, I came up with my own special granola. Granola for grown-ups.  As you can see I've included Kahlua coffee liqueur as a key ingredient.  A hint of coffee elixir to break the morning fast, hey, why not?

So I proceeded to assemble the ingredients that would go with such a concoction.  Thinking a tropical theme was in order (and using what I could find in the kitchen), I included banana chips, shredded coconut, sesame seeds, almonds, and a handful of pistachios, along with the rolled oats.  Add a portion of brown sugar, salt, and of course the Kahlua and voila - granola for grown-ups.

Although I'm sure, the alcohol evaporated in the baking, I thought it was a great - wild and crazy idea.  Kind of like living in the fast lane on the speedway of life, and a definite ice cream topper.

I must admit that although tasty (very tasty), my daughter-in-law's pecan pie granola is way better - truly a granola that has a Southern influence with a mix of natural and candied pecans, chopped dates, and other secret ingredients. And as I said, combined with fresh peaches, it is divine.  Not difficult at all to envision on top of caramel toffee ice cream either.

For a basic granola recipe, check out a former post on field notes, Granola - Sticks and Twigs.  You can use this recipe as a template and tweak it to please your every granola desire.
Granola for Grown-ups

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