I'm spoiled rotten when it comes to honey and molasses, we get several huge jars each year from the farm and they make everything more delicious. My honey obsession began early as a child, I'd wake up for breakfast and smear cold butter on warm slices of toast and then ladle a large spoon with honey to cover the bread. I'd make sure the toast was cool enough that the butter didn't melt and would be supple enough to bind the honey because I hated losing any honey that could drip off the slice. That still remains one of my favorite and probably the most simplest of things to eat for breakfast. I do it less often now and occasionally on weekends but each and every single time, I do indulge in my childhood fantasy, it is every bit as as wonderful as I can remember.
At 5am, the three block walk to the gym is chilly and I realized today that I've moved on from wearing tee-shirts every morning to double layering and now triple layering. I'm a cold weather wimp and I doubt this year will be any exception. But one of the things, I really look forward to after my workouts are my homemade oatmeal bars. I've been making these bars for several years and I do something different with every batch I prepare. This is my autumn-themed version which uses delicious dark molasses, honey and a little brown sugar for sweetness and a sprinkling of cinnamon and ginger for warmth and flavor.
I've also added a handful of almonds and sunflower seeds for nuttiness and reduced the butter content. There is also a bit of ground flaxseed meal that gives a healthy yet delicious flavor to the bars. Can you imagine the aroma of warm toasting oatmeal with all these nutty and spicy ingredients baking in your oven. It is pure kitchen bliss! These bars make the perfect snack and are also a great treat for adults and kids alike.
I have an exciting new food photography project that I will reveal to you in a couple of days. It will be a fun new adventure for me that I know I will thoroughly enjoy and I think you will too, so stay tuned!
spiced granola bars
approximately 27 bars
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 tablespoons raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup flaxseed meal
1/2 mixed raisins
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, freshly ground
1/2 cup dark molasses
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 325F and line a square 9 inch baking pan with parchment paper.
2. Melt the butter in a thick bottomed saucepan on medium high flame. Fold the oats into the melted butter with a silicone rubber spatula. Stir the oats every 3 minutes till they are evenly golden brown. Remove the oats from the stove and transfer to a large mixing bowl aside.
3. Toss the sunflower seeds, almonds, flaxseed, raisins, ginger, and cinnamon into the bowl containing the oats. Mix the ingredients until evenly distributed. Leave aside.
4. In a small thick bottomed pot, bring the molasses, honey, and brown sugar to a boil on a medium high flame with constant stirring. Once the mixture begins to boil, immediately reduce the flame to a gentle simmer and cook for another 3 minutes, constantly scraping the sides of the pot. Pour the hot liquid over the oats in the mixing bowl. Fold the syrup and the dry ingredients until evenly distributed.
5. Transfer the oatmeal mix to the center of the lined baking pan. Spray a little cooking oil (I used olive oil) on the palms of your hands and rub your hands against each other. Using your hands, press the oatmeal into a firm flat layer starting from the center and moving towards the outer edges. Once the layer is even, place the pan on the center rack of the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the entire crust acquires a dark golden color. Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack in the baking pan to room temperature.
6. Run a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the sides of the granola and transfer onto a cutting board. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the granola sheet into 1" X 3" bars. Store in an airtight container.
Thanks to you guys, I had a wonderful start to the week, actually its been the perfect start! A Brown Table's Chilled Almond Milk-Drunk cake was featured by the wonderful people at The Kitchn as part of their "Most Delicious Links" series. To celebrate here is a fun recipe that I hope you will try and love. I know the thought of having granitas in February sounds weird and makes me sound a tad bit crazy, but it does feel like spring and now the weather man says it will be another six weeks of warm weather. Who knows if a dusting of snow will rear its ugly head. Despite these factors, my Bombay granitas are here to stay. Let me explain why I named these granitas after Bombay. If you have ever traveled to Bombay (or Mumbai), you must have definitely heard of its characteristic and wonderful street food known as "chaat". If you haven't, well then you must put it on your bucket list. Chaat encompasses the delicious savory snacks that you will perhaps see on a wooden cart of a street vendor who will harbor tons of sweet and spicy snacks. From little pan fried potato cakes served with creamy garbanzo beans to freshly pressed sugarcane or lemon drinks flavored with roasted spices served with ice, chaat certainly holds its own unique and special place in Indian cuisine.
Fresh nectarine and pear fruit in this granita are gently spiced with several heavenly aromatic spices and doused with a little fresh ginger and lemon juice that lend a fresh and bright flavor. This spiced fruit granita is excitingly refreshing and soothing, don't let the spices scare you away. You can find all of them at your local grocers. This recipe is simple, fast and easy and only requires a blender or a food processor to puree the fruits together.You could also dunk a good sized scoop of this granita into a flute loaded with champagne for a Sunday brunch or perhaps even Valentine's Day. Now before I forget, let me remind you about the deadline to the cookbook giveaway which is getting closer and in case you haven't entered, hurry up and go to the Contest for more details. The "Encyclopedia of Sandwiches" is a great book on classic and modern sandwiches loaded with some gorgeous photographs that will make you very, very happy and of course hungry.
yields: 4-6 servings
chaat spice mix
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground black salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon green cardamom seeds
1/2 teaspoon dried ginger powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander/cilantro seeds
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon powdered Kashmiri chilies or cayenne pepper
1 medium sized ripe pear
1 tablespoon fresh ginger root juice
juice of one fresh lemon
1 cup sugar
2 cups water
a few fresh mint leaves to garnish
1. Heat a pan on a medium flame and gently toast the cumin, coriander seeds and pepper till they get light brown and immediately transfer to a cool surface to prevent them from burning.
2. Using a coffee grinder or blender, grind the toasted spices and the rest of the ingredients in the spice mix till you get a fine smooth powder. Store in an air-tight container where it will stay good for a few months.
3. Prepare a syrup by boiling the water and sugar together till completely dissolved and take off the gas and let it cool to room temperature.
3. Peel, core and de-seed the pears and nectarines and then chop the fruit into large chunks. Put the fruit into a food processor along with the lemon and ginger juice and attach the lid. Begin to pour the sugar syrup into the food processor while pulsing the fruit pulp and juices to a smooth puree. 4. Transfer the fruit mixture to a freezer-safe pan or bowl or container and stir in one teaspoon of the ground chaat spice mixture. Cover with cling film or a lid and freeze overnight or for at least 4-6 hours. Before serving, scrape the granita out with a metal spoon/fork into pre-chilled drinking glasses and garnish with fresh mint.