It is the season of Lent and as always, I have an internal debate as to what to give up, though I usually end up giving up sweets.
But I felt that I need to give up something else, to make it more of a sacrifice.
I finally decided that I am giving up desserts and sweets (doing it with my husband makes it easier) along with Buzzfeed.
The Buzzfeed app on my phone is one of my greatest time suckers.
Aside from the latest Hollywood gossip, I love those quizzes! Though one can only take so many Disney-themed or Friends-themed quizzes, I almost always click on them.
So, at the very least until Easter, instead of opening my Buzzfeed app, I will be reading a book.
For the year 2021, I have committed myself to reading at least 21 minutes a day. I got the idea from the podcast Happier by Gretchen Rubin. They call it 21 for 21. Catchy, right? I love the idea that I HAVE to read every day.
I have always been a bookworm, so reading is not a chore. Also, if the book is really good, I can really read more that 21 minutes. I am proud to say that for the first two months of the year, I have already finished more than 20 books, excluding children’s books. Of those, I have definitely read a lot more!
Anyway, back to my Lenten sacrifice of sweets.
I found a loophole.
My Negros-raised sweet tooth fervently thanks me.
Granola with Greek yoghurt. For breakfast or as a snack.
And my granola has to have clusters. I don’t enjoy it when it feels like I am chewing on individual toasted oats.
I also cannot stand that most store-bought granola tastes stale. They really do, right?
That is why I prefer making my own granola.
However, clusters have always eluded me, until I found a method that ensures them.
Baking the granola in one layer, low and slow, without stirring.
And to take the taste to the next level, I use brown butter! It adds a yummy nuttiness to the granola.
This recipe uses cashew nuts and slivers of coconut, which takes me back to the Philippines! You may, of course, use whatever nuts you like. For example, hazelnuts, almonds, pecans or walnuts all work wonderfully. Or some seeds, like sunflower or pepitas (squash seeds). Just make sure the ratio is two cups of oats to two cups of add-ins.
If you are like my mom, you might also want to add some dried fruit. Dried mango, anyone? How about raisins? Or cranberries? But add the dried fruits just when you are about to eat the granola as they might add some moisture to the granola and it will lose its crunch.
Cashew coconut brown butter granola
½ cup unsalted butter
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/3 cup maple syrup or honey
½ tsp fine sea salt
2 cups rolled/old-fashioned oats (do not use instant or quick-cooking oats)
1 cup cashew nuts
1 cup coconut flakes
1. Preheat oven to 275°F/135°C. Line a 9×13 inch baking pan with parchment paper.
2. In a small saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally until it foams, then the milk solids separate and browns, about 5-8 minutes. It will smell nutty. Be careful not to let it burn.
3. Pour the brown butter into a small bowl, then add the brown sugar, maple syrup or honey and salt.
4. In a large bowl, combine the oats, cashew nuts and coconut flakes. Pour over the brown butter mixture and toss to coat the oats mixture evenly.
5. Spread the granola mixture in the baking pan and pat down into an even layer.
6. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes without stirring. The length of baking really depends on your oven. You will know when the granola is done when the sides are deeply browned.
7. Remove from oven and cool.
8. Break into clusters and transfer into an airtight container. Consume within one month.
9. You may also add dried fruits, like dried mango, raisins, etc, if you wish.*