My mother is a secret hippie. Now, mom—don’t misunderstand. I know you’ve never smelled a marijuana cigarette, nor have you ever applied your deodorant with a rock. But I associate you with positive hippie stereotypes, and in these respects you are a true OG. I and my six siblings grew up helping in your garden, hanging clothes to dry on the line, composting, canning, and batching our own granola. I like to think that you walk by the store-bought variety, eye the price, and leave cackling at the audacity of the capitalist American marketing machine and the pigs behind “Big Granola.”
Honestly, it wasn’t until my own nascent adulthood that I realized how cool these green practices made you. I know you’d dismiss it as frugality—before hopping on your bike and riding to the store for more yarn to knit hats for newborn children. And that’s just another burnishment of your character: innovative, practical, humble, and too busy helping others to boast about your accomplishments. While the composting lesson never quite stuck and I fall off the seat of every bike I’ve ever mounted, I would like to thank you for your granola recipe and that prototypical DIY spirit I’ve carried with me ever since.
But back to that ‘nola—this breakfast staple is a blank canvas for the creative types among you. For those who cringe at the thought of free will before 9AM, granola is also a simple formula comprised of a few ingredients that you can change every composition or keep the same if you shop in bulk at Costco. We’re talking oats, assorted grains and nuts, a fat and a sweetener, and then some flavor punches. You can satisfy your craving du jour, eat it with yogurt, or gift it your friends in a mason jar embellished with ribbon like a scene straight out of my very first Pinterest board. It’s the perfect way to let people know that you drive a Prius and that, someday, you hope to grow up and be just like your mother.
I know I do.
- 6 cups quick cooking oats
- 1 cup toasted macadamia nuts, chopped
- ½ cup toasted almonds, chopped
- ¼ cup chia seeds
- ⅓ cup dried mango, chopped
- ⅓ cup dried pineapple, chopped
- ⅓ cup unsweetened coconut chips
- 8 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon dark rum
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 egg white, whisked.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Heat saute pan over medium heat.
- While pan is heating, start assembling your granola ingredients in a large mixing bowl and chopping your nuts. Mix the oats with all the assorted nuts, grains, and dried fruit. If you are adjusting this recipe and want to add chocolate, do not mix the chocolate into the granola until after you have baked it.
- Brown the butter in the saute pan. This will take about 5 minutes, over medium heat, until the butter is slightly browned and is fragrantly nutty. Remove the pan from heat and mix in the brown sugar, the rum, the vanilla, and the salt. Mix until well combined.
- Stir the butter and sugar mixture into the oats and nuts.
- In a small bowl, beat the egg white until frothy. Add the canola oil and then slowly mix both over the bowl of granola.
- On a large baking sheet, spread the granola in an even layer. If you don’t like clumps in your granola, take care to find them here and separate the grains. If you do, leave and enjoy later.
- Bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until well toasted. You should check every 10 minutes and stir to ensure an even bake. After 20 minutes, check and stir a bit more frequently.
- Once done, let cool and store in jars for up to 3 weeks.
Be creative, and choose your own granola.