Baklava Granola

Guess what you’re doing tomorrow!

Making granola :) But not just any old boring oats. Oh no. You’re making BAKLAVA GRANOLA!

Actually you should probably make it tonight so you can eat it for breakfast tomorrow.

That means you’ll also get to QC this tonight since being the chef qualifies you as the primary taste-tester! FTW!

Speaking of, this is totally amazing over fro-yo or ice cream.

You know you were wondering what dessert was going to be tonight anyways. Two birds – one stone!

 

Baklava Granola Clusters

3 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup pistachios
1/4 cup almonds
1/4 cup pecans
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves, ground
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 stick butter, unsalted
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup water
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a food processor, combine nuts, spices, salt, and light brown sugar. Pulse until no nuts are whole (chunkage is good here – don’t grind TOO fine :)

In a large bowl, combine nut-mixture and oats. Stir until evenly distributed. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a heavy bottomed sauce pot, melt butter. Turn heat to medium-high, and brown. Remember to stir constantly. Burnt butter is a serious tragedy and culinary offense!

Once butter has browned, pour into the nut-oat mixture and stir until combined.

Set your oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Back on the stove… In a heavy bottomed sauce pot, combine water, granulated sugar, and honey. Bring to a rapid boil, stirring constantly for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and stir in vanilla extract. Heat for an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally (that’s like once every 30-60 seconds).

Pour sugar syrup into butter-nut-oat mixture and stir until syrup has been absorbed. Pour onto the lined baking sheet and spread evenly. Toss in the oven for 20 minutes, flipping/tossing granola at the middle-mark to ensure even browning.

Depending on your granola preference (some like it semi-crunchy, some like it hard enough to crack a tooth), you’ll want to toss a third or fourth time, with 10 minutes of oven time in between. If that just confused you, I mean:

10 minutes oven time
toss
10 minutes oven time
toss
10 minutes oven time
toss
etc…. until the desired crunchiness is achieved.

Tip: If you’re going for more than 3 tosses, turn the temp down to 300. This will ensure your spices don’t burn before your oats crunch up :)

NOM.

GamerGirl

Vanilla Chia Pudding

I don’t know about you, but I grew up wondering what stuff I played with that could be considered edible.
PlayDough? Not edible.
Maccaroni with glitter-glue? Nope.
Legos? Ha!

I grew out of this phase only to wake up one day last year to folks in the food-blog community eating Chia Pet seeds.

CHIA SEEDS! It’s only like the one thing I didn’t try to taste-test as a child.

So I packed up the hubby and some friends and went to Whole Foods (the closest one to our house is 89 miles away… Note to WF: Please build closer to Yucaipa!) and picked up, among other things, chia seeds.

Since it’s like a serious trek to find the damn things, I bought a POUND. Wtf was I thinking? What can you even do with chia seeds?

You can apparently use them in salads, granola bars, breakfast, shakes… And more options than I can list. Few of which sound as appealing as they do healthy.

I’ve worked my way through most of the bag making granola bars and breakfast cookies, which is unfortunate since I just discovered you can use them DESSERT!

Blurry, but great. Just like our New Year's Eve ;)

Vanilla Chia Pudding

(adapted from Martha Stewart Living – December 2011 ~ serves 4)
 

1/4 cup chia seeds
1 vanilla bean, halved and scraped (scrapings reserved)
2 cups soy milk (i used vanilla)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
4-5 dates, pitted and diced
1/3 cup blanched almonds, slivered
Maple syrup
Raspberries

In a small bowl, bury vanilla bean pod in chia seeds. Set aside.

In a blender, combine soy milk, cinnamon, vanilla bean scrapings, almonds, and dates. Blend until smooth. Strain into a bowl to catch any pieces of date or almond which failed to blend.

Add chia seeds and vanilla bean pod to soy milk mixture, stirring frequently over 10-15 minutes to break up any clumps of chia. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 hours.

Spoon into cups and serve topped with a tablespoon of maple syrup and a handfull of raspberries.

I totally thought this was going to be crap, so I took like two pictures total. Then we ate it ALL. Please accept these instagramed shots as my sincere apology for failing the food blog gods :)

GamerGirl