Erica Lea on Jan 7th 2013
Hello there! Hope you all had an awesome holiday season. I wish I could say ours was rockin’, but it seems like we’ve been battling one sickness after another.
I was going to make Nutella Stuffed Cookies for ya’ll, but after the indulgence pigging out from the holidays, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.
So I went a little healthier route and made granola instead.
For Christmas I received the lovely Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, from which I got this granola. I think I’m going to really enjoy cooking my way through that book.
This granola is bonkers good. The flavors are simply wonderful and it bakes up nice and crunchy. Plus, it super-customizable — always a good thing in my book. You can change up the type of nuts or fruit for a totally different result.
And now for a bit of a baby/pregnancy update. I’m at 34.5 weeks (the above photo was taken at 33 weeks), or 5.5 weeks from my due date! It kinda scares and excites me to think that we’ll be responsible for the life of a tiny, helpless baby in a little over a month.
For now I’m doing my best to eat right to keep this life inside of me healthy. Onward to this new adventure!
You can read more about my pregnancy on my personal blog.
- I think the use of egg white to help bind the granola is brilliant. It didn’t make the granola as “clumpy” as the recipe suggested it would, but it was still quite crunchy.
- The fruit made the granola get a tad softer. Next time I might leave it out altogether. After all I’m not a huge fan of fruit in my granola.
- Coarse sea salt makes this granola really lovely. Every once in a while you get a bite with a little salt crystal. Delightful!
- The original recipe called for olive oil, but I used butter since olive oil can break down with baking. You could also use coconut oil if you prefer.
- 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1 cup pecans or nuts of choice
- 1/4 flax seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 large egg white
- 1 1/2 cups dried fruit of choice (I used figs and apricots), optional
1) Preheat your oven to 300° F (150° C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
2) In a large bowl, mix together the oats, coconut, nuts, flax seeds, cinnamon and salt. In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Mix in the maple syrup.
3) Pour the butter/maple syrup mixture over the dry ingredients and toss to coat well. In a small bowl, whisk the egg white until frothy. Add to the dry ingredients and toss.
4) Spread the granola out onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 45-55 minutes, until the granola is nicely toasted, golden, and feels dry, rotating the pan halfway through baking.
5) Remove from oven and let cool completely in the pan on a cooling rack. When completely cool, break up the granola and stir in the fruit. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. You can also store in the refrigerator of freezer for longer periods of time.
Erica Lea on Oct 10th 2010
We have been blessed with a multitude of apples this year. It’s wonderful to be able to, after a hard run, pluck an apple from our trees and enjoy a sweet reward.
It’s also wonderful to have so many apples on hand, ready to create something delicious. Like pink apple jelly. Or this scrumptious Maple Apple Pecan Bread.
Erica Lea on Aug 9th 2010
Delicious shortbread cookies topped with mocha butter, bittersweet chocolate, and pecans. To get the recipe, check out my guest post over at the Tasty Kitchen Blog.
Erica Lea on Jun 9th 2010
What do you do when you run out of your favorite chocolate chips and want to make some utterly scrumptious cookies? Ad-lib a bit, of course!
I dug through our extensive collection of printed Internet recipes and found one claiming to be the perfect oatmeal cookie recipe.
Of course I had to experiment and expand. I threw in some toasted pecans and chopped dates. Am I ever glad I did. The toasty pecans add a nice flavor and texture. When you bite into a date, it seems a tiny explosion of fruity sweetness occurs.
Erica Lea on Jul 2nd 2009
Last weekend, we went camping. When we returned, I found three VERY ripe bananas in the refrigerator. I knew something needed to be done with them before they were completely useless, but I just didn’t feel like baking banana bread.
So I made banana cake instead! I knew from the get-go that I wanted the cake slightly more healthy (surprise surprise!) than the original recipe. So I swapped whole wheat flour for the AP flour and used maple syrup in place of the brown and white sugar. To compensate for the maple syrup, I increased the flour by 1/4 cup.
This recipe was very forgiving, even with all of my crazy substitutions. The cake was moist and flavorful and rose beautifully in the oven.
The original recipe instructed me to serve the cake with slightly sweetened whipped cream. Since I don’t take orders from recipes very readily, I just served it with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting and sprinkled it with some toasted pecans.
Maple & Pecan Banana Cake
from How to Bake by Nick Malgieri
For the Cake
- 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
- 1 cup pure maple syrup
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- 2 3.4 cups (11 ounces) whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 cup mashed, not pureed, bananas
- 3/4 cup milk or buttermilk
For the Frosting
- 1 eight-ounce package cream cheese
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened but still firm
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup toasted pecans, for garnish
To make the cake:
1) Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter a 13×9-inch glass baking dish and line the bottom with parchment paper.
2) In the bowl of a stand mixer or using a hand beater, cream the butter until soft and light. Gradually add the maple syrup and beat on medium speed for 5 minutes more, or until very light. The butter and maple syrup may separate slightly.
3) Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape the bowl and beaters occasionally. Beat in the vanilla.
4) In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add to the butter mixture along with the milk and bananas. Beat on low speed just until combined.
5) Scrape the batter into the prepare pan and bake for approximately 35 minutes, or until the cake is well risen and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack, removing the paper, and allow to cool completely.
To make the frosting:
1) In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the butter, maple syrup, and vanilla and beat until smooth.
2) Store in the refrigerator until serving. If the frosting becomes too hard, let it sit a room temperature until spreadable.
To serve the cake:
Cut the cake into desired sized pieces. Spread with frosting. Garnish with toasted pecans. Serve immediately.
Makes approximately twenty-four 2-inch squares