Tag: Nutmeg

The Perfect Equation (for Granola, anyway)

The perfect granola equations // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

First, let me apologize for disappearing for a little while. I was laid up in bed with a really terrible cold for most of this week. There was lots of tea, cough drops, movies, tom kha soup, and knitting. But now that I’m back from the land of the ill, let’s talk about granola a little bit.

For a while now, I’ve been making the recipe from Orangette or another friend’s secret granola recipe. And every time I’ve tried to go rogue (aka not exactly following a recipe), my granola ends up too dry, or not sweet enough, or not as crispy as I like it. And I’m not the kind to make the same recipe a thousand times trying to add a teaspoon more of this or up the temperature 13 degrees. It’s not going to happen.

So when I happened upon a granola equation, on Buzzfeed of all places, I immediately wrote it down on a little notepad I’ve started carrying with me wherever I go (can’t recommend that enough). And I’ve used it many times. I’ve made a couple adjustments, and I have a couple of suggestions in terms of which way to lean on some of their more vague instructions, and I want to share it with you.

The Perfect Granola Equation

Ingredients

Dry Ingredients

3 1/2 cups grain This is where most people use oats. I use oats. I guess if you want to use barley or whatever, you can.

1 – 1 1/2 cups nuts I’ve been using mostly a mix of whatever I have around. I like half pecans, half sliced almonds, but I’ve also used walnuts.

1 tsp salt

1 – 2 cups seeds I would suggest leaning towards one cup instead of two. Otherwise it can quickly start to feel like you’re eating birdseed. I’ve been mostly using pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds (old habits and all that), but I’m itching to try sesame seeds too.

1 cup coconut If you really dislike coconut, you can go without, but it adds a lovely nutty toasty flavor to the granola that I adore.

Spices You can really add as many as you like, but don’t get too crazy. A teaspoon of cinnamon is always a good place to start, and after that, maybe add a quarter teaspoon of one or two other things. I always use a quarter teaspoon of cardamom, and because it’s the holiday season and I associate nutmeg with the holidays, I’ve been adding a quarter teaspoon of that as well.

1 cup dried fruit I’m personally not a fan of dried fruit in my granola – I’d rather cut in a banana or peach or some berries – but if you are, you can add it after baking. If you’re adding something big like dried apricot or figs (as opposed to something small like dried cranberries or cherries), cut it into a rough dice before tossing it in with the granola.

Wet Ingredients

1/2 – 3/4 cup sweetener I like to do mostly maple syrup, though it can get a little pricy. Sometimes I’ll do half syrup and half honey. Agave is another good option.

1/4 – 1/2 cup oil I used to use solely olive oil – I liked the kind of savory-ness it brought to the granola – but I’ve started doing half olive oil and half coconut oil, and I am a big big fan.

1 tsp vanilla

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Mix dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add wet ingredients, stir until thoroughly combined and coated. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, and spread the granola on the parchment. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes (unless you like clumpier granola, in which case stir once halfway through). Remove from oven, allow to cool, and enjoy.

Nutmeg Maple Butter Cookies

Nutmeg Maple Butter Cookies

Nutmeg Maple Butter Cookies
Nutmeg Maple Butter Cookies

Nutmeg Maple Butter Cookies

Last night I was like “It’s COOKIE TIME!!!!” I may or may not have a problem. Last week I was surfing¬†Smitten Kitchen¬†(like you do) and happened upon these delicious looking nutmeg maple butter cookies. If you still haven’t visited her website, Deb (the author of smittenkitchen.com) is pretty hilarious, and writes very informatively about the food she makes. It’s splendid. Check it out. Anyway, I wanted something easy but not so simple as just a sugar cookie, so I pulled up this recipe.

Nutmeg Maple Butter Cookies

Ingredients

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 large egg yolk
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg or 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (because it packs more tightly)
1 teaspoon table salt

Instructions

In an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar, mix together until light and fluffy. With the mixer still mixing, add yolk and slowly drizzle in maple syrup. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, nutmeg and salt. Add to butter mixture and mix until just combined. The dough will be in loose clumps. Gather them together into a tight packet with a large piece of plastic wrap and chill dough for at least two hours until firm. I’ll say that I had some trouble with this. My dough was moist in parts and really dry in others, and was really crumbly, making it difficult to pack it into a nice package and wrap up. Also, once I took it out of the fridge I had to wait for it to warm up a significant amount before I could roll it out without it crumbling all over the place. So be warned: mix VERY thoroughly.

Once you remove the dough from the fridge, preheat oven to 350 degrees and either butter a cookie sheet or cover with parchment paper. Jonah and I save the little papers our butter comes in and keep them in the fridge. They’re great for greasing pans, and they’re free with your butter, unlike parchment paper. Roll out 1/4 of the dough at a time, you’ll have plenty to work with (it’s a lot of dough). Roll to about 1/8 of an inch thick, and cut into whatever shapes you want! I just did circles because…well…I don’t have any other shapes.

Arrange the cookies on baking sheets and bake for 8-11 minutes. They don’t really spread, so they can be pretty close together. Here’s a word about baking time: If you want crunchier edges and harder, chewier cookies, bake closer to 10 or 11 minutes. If you want them a little bit softer and not crunchy edges and bottoms, bake closer to the 8 minute end. I liked them crunchier, Jonah liked them softer, so we did a few batches of each. Transfer to racks or a plate to cool. According to Deb, the cookies keep in an airtight container for a week, or in the freezer till…well, till they aren’t good anymore.

Jonah took some of these into work today, and they were a big hit. I am planning on bringing some to my rehearsal tonight, where I am quickly becoming the cookie lady (or will be after I bring these in). But whatever, everyone in the show is too skinny anyway. They need some butter and sugar.