Homemade Vanilla Almond Granola

Over the years, Granola and I have had a love-hate relationship. After one too many unfortunate store-bought granola experiences, I've learned to put the term "generally" in front of my self described title of "un-picky" eater. If you like granola as much as I do, you'll know what I mean by this. Sometimes you get lucky with a store bought granola- Bear Naked is a favorite, but it's almost impossible to beat the fresh sticky crunchy taste of fresh from the oven, homemade granola.

So as to avoid all future unfortunate store-bought granola experiences, I've decided to go strictly homemade (if I can help it). As a result, I'm constantly on the hunt for a new, tasty, easy, homemade granola recipe. 

Last week, I came across this recipe made with a medley of vanilla, pure maple, almond, and cinnamon merged together- I had to try it. The result: not only does it taste AMAZING, the cinnamon and vanilla baking along with the maple, coconut oil and oats creates the most delicious aroma that spreads throughout the entire house. This stuff is seriously the best!

Granola Ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 2 and 1/2 cups (200 g) old-fashion rolled oats

  • 3/4 cup (100 g) slivered almonds

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • pinch salt (about 1/8 teaspoon)

  • 1/2 cup (120ml) pure maple syrup

  • 1/4 cup (60ml) melted coconut oil

  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 

Granola on baking sheet

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300F degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Toss the oats, almonds, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the maple syrup and coconut oil together until combined. Whisk in the almond and vanilla extracts. Pour over the oats and toss to coat. Make sure all of the oats are moistened.

Spread onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Allow granola to cool completely - the air will help the granola obtain a crunchy texture. Granola remains fresh in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 weeks.

Recipe: Sallys Baking Addiction

 

 

 

Cranberry and Pecan Brie en Croute

Brie topped with cranberries, toasted cinnamon pecans, and brown sugar all wrapped in a puff pastry. Has there ever been a more perfect appetizer for holiday gatherings? 

brie en croute

Note: This recipe is a rendition of Paula Deen's Brie en Croute #2 recipe. Since we always seem to have a surplus of cranberries around the house over the holidays, I replaced the raspberry jam with a simple cranberry sauce recipe. 

Homemade Cranberry Sauce - Prepare in advance

Cranberry Sauce

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons water

1 cup sugar

1 12 oz bag cranberries 

Directions:

1. Transfer 1/2 cup cranberries to a side bowl

2. Place remaining cranberries in pan

3. Add sugar and water

4. Cook cranberries, sugar and water over low heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves and the cranberries are soft, about 10 minutes

5. Increase the heat to medium and cook until the cranberries burst, about 12 minutes

11. Reduce the heat to low and add in the reserved cranberries

12. Add sugar and salt to taste

13. Let cool to room temperature 

Cranberry and Pecan Brie en Croute

Pecan on Brie

Ingredients:

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed

1 8 ounce wheel of Brie

1/3 cup chopped pecans

1 Tablespoon butter

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup homemade cranberry sauce (see recipe above)

1 egg, beaten

Flour for work surfaces

Cranberry Topping

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2. Lay thawed puff pastry sheet on a cookie sheet. brush with flour and flatten out with rolling pin

3. In a small saucepan, melt butter. Stir in pecans and cinnamon and toast for about 3 minutes 

4. Cut rind off top of Brie - this allows for the cranberry sauce and pecans to melt into the cheese

5. Place pecan mixture on top of Brie.

6. Place brown sugar on top of pecan mixture. The heat of the pecan mixture will help melt the brown sugar

7. Place cranberry sauce on top of brown sugar

dough

8. Bring the edges of the puff pastry up and twist them together- kind of like you would twist the top of a brown paper lunch sack

9. Using a pastry brush, brush the entire pastry with a beaten egg. This gives the puff pastry a nice sheen once baked

Cranberry and Pecan

10. Bake for 15-20 minutes in the oven or until the pastry is golden brown

11. Let sit for 20 minutes before devouring






Spotlight on Figs Prosciutto

As a child, I grew up alongside a huge fig tree in my back yard. During Fig season, we would go out into the yard, armed with paper sacks and pluck the most promising figs before the squirrels and birds got to them. We'd then line the kitchen counters with our brown paper sacks and wait a day or two for the figs to fully ripen. Once they were ready, we would eat those figs like Bubba Gump ate his shrimp - wrapped in bacon, stuffed with goat cheese, drizzled in honey, topped with peppers, mashed, baked or au natural. You get the point- if a fig was in some way involved, we ate it.

Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree 

Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree 

Throughout the years, this heavenly combination of cheese, prosciutto, honey and figs became our family go-to family recipe for a crowd-pleasing Fall appetizer. So go ahead and get your invite list ready, because once you try this recipe, you're going to want to make it for your next dinner party.

Fig.JPG

Ingredients:

fresh figs, sliced in half
soft, flavorful cheese, such as gorgonzola dolce, goat or brie
prosciutto, thinly sliced
honey, for drizzling
coarse sea salt

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 350°F

Stuff a small ball of cheese into the center of each fig half.

Wrap the fig halves with narrow strips of prosciutto. The prosciutto will easily stick to itself, so no need to be perfect.

Place the fig halves on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes. Remove and allow to cool slightly. Plate, and drizzle with honey and a light sprinkling of sea salt.


Prep Time: 30 minutes       Cook time: 30 minutes       Yield: 6-8 scones