Saturday, August 14, 2010

Sweet Melissa Sunday - Cherry Almond Granola Love Affair

List in hand, whirling through Marlene's Health Food Store (found out only 30 minutes from my home) I find a hidden treasure worth holding my breath for while I slide open a glass door. Kind of like a hidden room right in front of your eyes. You walk by but never actually see the door until you are actually looking for the door. I step inside, thinking the room is going to be refrigerator cold, and the room is cold but not refrigerator cold. The walls are lined with bulk food buckets of ingredients I have only found in mass produced boxes BUT never fresh. Every type of couscous, flour (including my elusive dark rye flour), all types of rice (including the black rice), every type of anything I have been hunting down one ingredient at a time is fresh and in these white buckets. All natural clover honey and wildflower honey is kept warm in large metal cylinder pots to be poured through a spout according to how much I want. Wild dried blueberries . . . can you believe it? WILD dried blueberries! I have had to order these babies online before. Is it proper to giggle your way through a store?

Granola is my weakness! My Mom used to make homemade granola in the exact same white bowl you see above when I was a little girl. She also made tons of homemade bread, literally (store bought bread was not allowed in our home) in this same white bowl and the bowl was passed down to me when I left for my first apartment. I still treasure the bowl . . . in fact, I collect many bowls now like I collect shoes. Eww, I said that out loud didn't I? Yes, I love my shoes =). But focusing, with all the pretty bowls I have, this white bowl is what gets used regularly. If you have not noticed yet, I made a double batch of the cherry almond granola, picked by this week's host for Sweet Melissa Sundays: (The talented and sweet Wendy of Pink Stripes). The recipe can be found on her site or BUY Melissa's cookbook for heaven's sake! Also, you really need to check out the rest of our talented baker's granola by clicking on the blogroll. You will be hungry and making your own batch in no time.

Rye flakes was a first for me. I have never seen them before, much less using them in a recipe.
My granola has pecans, almonds, filberts, dried wild blueberries, currents, Montgomery cherries, and yogurt covered plump raisins along with making sure the pure maple syrup is Grade B. Grade B has so much more flavor and, unfortunately, is more expensive. Isn't that strange? A lesser quality costs more.
Because I was a little too exuberant with making granola, I also felt I needed to try new ways of using some of my new kitchen treasure. Below are my FAVORITE TNT recipes out of everything I have tried so far. I made the granola early in the week and have been playing with food ideas ever since.

The ever traditional granola yogurt parfait KICKED UP a HUGE notch. First I made Melissa's raspberry sauce on page 176, again. Love that sauce! Then, using Greek plain yogurt I made layers of the yogurt, raspberry sauce, fresh blueberries, granola, more yogurt, strawberries, more granola, dollop of yogurt and a strawberry fan surrounded by large blueberries. Breakfast!

Not sure if you can tell, but I made a red raspberry sauce and a yellow raspberry sauce. Used both in the layers.

Melissa's Granola Breakfast Cookies sounded like the next best choice to bake, so I did. She kind of hinted around about it in her prelude to the recipe for the granola. Most of the cookies are in the freezer but the few I ate tasted very healthy (I am still thinking over the idea of these cookies.)

A cinnamon and granola coffee ring ended up being delicious~! I used Hershey cinnamon chips both in the filling and the topping. The granola is mixed in with the batter so the coffee cake had terrific flavor and texture. The filling has crunchy pecan chunks to go with the cinnamon chips and the glaze is melted cinnamon chips with a little shortening. More pecan chunks are sprinkled over the top. So easy to nibble on. A little too easy.
Cinnamon and Granola Coffee Ring
Filling Ingredients:
1/2 cup Hershey cinnamon baking chips
1/2 cup chopped nuts
Cake Ingredients:
1 cup granola cereal
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated orange peel
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Glaze Ingredients:
1/2 cup Hershey cinnamon baking chips
2 tablespoon shortening
2 tablespoons chopped pecans

Heat oven to 350°F. Combine all filling ingredients in medium bowl; set aside.
Combine granola cereal and sour cream in large bowl; let stand 5 minutes to soften cereal. Add butter; beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until well mixed.
Add sugar, eggs and orange peel; continue beating until well mixed. (Mixture will be slightly lumpy.) Add all remaining cake ingredients; continue beating until well mixed.
Spoon half of cake batter into greased and floured 10-inch angel food cake (tube) pan or 10-cup Bundt pan. Sprinkle with filling. Spoon remaining batter over filling. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan. Cool completely.
Melt 1/2 cup Hershey cinnamon chips and shortening in the microwave for 30 to 45 seconds. Stir and heat in small intervals until fully melted. Immediately drizzle over cooled cake; sprinkle with 2 tablespoons nuts.

AND now my all-time FAVORITE: Granola Pound Cake (1 medium loaf)!
Do you see the batter below? Thick, creamy, wonderful.
The recipe came from The Breakfast Book by Marion Cunningham and I am going to bake this recipe over and over and over. Do you know why? Because, along with the obvious wonderful flavor, I LOVE this pound cake toasted, a little butter spread on and then SLATHERED with homemade jam. I have a picture below!

Granola Pound Cake
2 sticks butter (1/2 pound), room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 t. vanilla extract
5 eggs, room temperature
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
1/2 t. salt
1 1/4 cups granola

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter an 8 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan.
Combine the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat until smooth. Add the vanilla and the eggs, one at a time, beating until very well mixed. Add the flours and salt and beat at least 2 minutes. Stir in the granola.
Spoon the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a straw comes out clean when inserted into the center. Gently remove the cake from the pan and let cool on a rack.

Of course apricot preserves because I just finished canning the preserves a couple of weeks ago. Delicious breakfast to look forward to every morning until the last slice!


Gloria said...

Wow Shandy! You've been a very busy girl this week! Who knew granola could be used in so many ways? Both your cakes look amazing. And I love yogurt and granola. I didn't bake along this week...I was overwhelmed by all the ingredients...but I'm rethinking. I love your memories of your mom's bowl. That is so cool.

Candy Girl said...

Super impressive post!

I collect bowls too. You can never have too many. All of your creations look awesome! Kitchen reno is in full swing so unless it can be made in the microwave without dirtying any dishes, I can't make it!

Nikki said...

man that's a lot of delicious looking stuff! sounds like you had quite the productive all looks great!

Julie said...

Wow! All things granola. Great post! I love tha this brought back the childhood memories of the granola bowl.

I didn't bake along this week but may have to do this one on a rewind.

Ms Fifikins said...

Wow! You have been busy! I think I might borrow that pound cake recipe too- it looks really yummy!

Cristine said...

Wow! Everything looks amazing!

Stephanie said...

Wow, everything looks so good! I agree this granola was delicious. Looks like it inspired you to create a few other goodies, too! I love that you have the bowl your mother used to make granola in, that is lovely.

Sweet and Savory said...

Send me one parfait and one cake. These are actually naughty looking although they are so much more than that.

Your turned granola into something mystical.

Shandy said...

Gloria, HUGE thank you! Love the granola recipe with milk for breakfast the best and the pound cake is a second.

Candy Girl, Thank you too! Bowl collecting is so much fun, especially when we find a cute one cheap. Happy kitchen renovating and hope you have your kitchen back soon.

Nikki, thank you are the wonderful comments! I did have fun =).

Hanaâ said...

Wow, you've been busy!! Your granola looks awesome. I'm into homemade yogurt these days ever since I bought a yogurt maker at a garage sale. It's soo good. I bet homemade granola would be perfect on it :o)

The Rookie Baker said...

Fantastic uses of granola! I did not bake along this week as I was a bit intimidated by all of the ingredients, but your post is convincing me that I need to give this a try! I especially love the fruit and yogurt parfait you made...makes a delcious and healhty breakfast.

Flourchild said...

Everything looks so good! I love all the treats you made! Im glad you enjoyed this recipe and making all the great treats with it!
Thank you for your kind words on my blog. You are so sweet and a great friend to me!

Gloria said...

You inspired me Shandy! I made the granola this afternoon. I took a lot of liberties with the recipe based on what was in my kitchen. It turned out good! Thanks for the encouragement. ;)

margot said...

Shandy, I don't even know where to start - everything looks amazing! I never would have thought to makea granola pound cake. Isn't bulk bin shopping the best? I thought this was a great recipe.

rebecca said...

Yes, I'll take one of each!

I particularly love the parfaits.

What did you think of the rye flakes? Was there a discernible flavor?

Eliana said...

Looks at you with all the different granola recipe renditions. My favorite is the parfait. I looks so elegant and sounds so tasty.

Tracey said...

Wow, you really outdid yourself this week! That store sounds fabulous! I couldn't find rye flakes - maybe I should have looked harder for a natural food store :) Everything you made looks absolutely wonderful!

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