Tuesday, November 6, 2012

orange, brown butter and almond granola

Usually I make my granola with a almond-fruit juice-maple syrup mixture (like in these two posts). I thought I'd switch it up this time and use a recipe from Super Natural Everyday - with melted butter! I'm out of maple syrup, so I used honey instead, and decided to brown that butter, because everything tastes better with brown butter. It's a magical cooking technique that turns regular old melted butter (delicious all ready), into something nutty and complex - it reminds me of caramel and hazelnuts. In french cooking, it's called buerre noisette, literally 'hazelnut butter.'

Heidi's version in Super Natural Every Day has walnuts, currants and coconut. I went in a different direction, with almonds, currants and orange zest (actually, clementine zest, which was what I had). It tastes like christmas! Next time, I'm going to go decadent with walnuts, orange zest and chocolate chunks. Crazy. 

(There's just something about clementines - wooden crates, finding my winter coat pockets filled with dried-out peel, filling a bowl with the cheerful little fruit for my kitchen table. I know it's still technically fall, but as soon as I peel my first clementine, I know it's gonna be christmas soon... soon-ish.)

orange, brown butter and almond granola
adapted from Super Natural Every Day

4 cups rolled oats
1 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup wheat germ
3 tbsp flax seeds
1/2 tsp sea salt
zest from 1 orange (or 2 clementines) 
85 grams unsalted butter (just over 1/3 cup)
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup currants

Preheat oven to 350. Combine oats, almonds, wheat germ, flax seeds, salt and zest in a large bowl. Melt butter over medium-low heat. Continue cooking butter, about 5 minutes, until it browns and begins to smell like hazelnuts. Watch it closely, it can go from being browned to burnt very quickly. Add honey to butter, stirring until it's melted and combined. 

Pour honey/butter over the oats, and stir to coat the oats evenly. Spread on two parchment paper covered baking sheets and bake for 40-50 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until golden and crispy. Let cool completely on baking sheets, then stir in currants. Store in jars at room temperature. The granola will keep for a couple of weeks. 

Eat simply with milk, sprinkle on top of yogurt and fruit, or stuff into baked apples.  

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