Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sesame Orange Granola

The brutally cold weather, compounded with the fact that there was absolutely nothing to watch on TV, compelled me to make a long overdue trip to my local library last week where I discovered a treasure trove of cookbooks just waiting to be read.

This is fantastic if you are anything like me and already own a bunch of cookbooks and don't need to buy more. It is a great way of taking a sneak peak at some of the new and interesting cookbooks out there, plus check out some of the old classics as well. I hope the cookbook authors don't mind.

I found such an interesting assortment of cookbooks and checked so many out, that I could barely lug them all home.

It was so exciting, I could hardly contain myself.

That evening I snuggled up with a cup of hot tea and read two of them straight through like novels. I do that sometimes, read cookbooks straight through like regular books.

Then I became so inspired that I got up from the sofa and whipped up Art Smith's Sesame Orange Granola.

This is the perfect snack to sustain my kids while they traipse across a bitter cold college campus. Oddly enough, I had most of the ingredients on hand.

I found the recipe in The 150 Best American Recipes: Indispensable Dishes from Legendary Chefs and Undiscovered Cooks, and it had such a tantalizing assortment of tasty looking dishes, that I may eventually have to buy it.

The granola was a slightly salty, slightly sweet combination of shredded coconut, maple syrup, orange zest, old-fashioned rolled oats, sliced almonds, cashews, sesame seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg, dried cranberries and honey.

Time for me to go now, I've got more cookbooks to peruse.

Anyone else out there love the library as much as I do?
Sesame Orange Granola
Adapted from Back to the Table by Art Smith

1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup maple syrup
Grated zest of 1 large orange
4 cups old-fashioned (rolled) oats
1 cup (4 ounces) sliced almonds
1 cup (4 ounces) coarsely chopped unsalted cashews
1/3 cup honey
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/3 cup sesame seeds
1 cup chopped dried fruit , such as cranberries, dates, apples, or apricots, or a combination.

Directions: Position racks in the center and upper third of the oven and preheat to 375°F.
Spread the coconut on a baking sheet. Bake on the center rack, stirring often, until lightly toasted, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
Bring the oil, maple syrup, and orange zest to a boil over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Place the oats, almonds, cashews, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sesame seeds in bowl with coconut.
Add the syrup mixture and mix (or toss with 2 large spoons) until well coated.
Spread in 1/2-inch layers on 2 large baking sheets.
Bake, stirring often, switching the positions of the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking, until the granola is golden brown, about 15 minutes.
Remove from the oven - and sprinkle with a tiny bit of sea salt if you like - then cool. Pour into bowl with coconut and dried fruit and mix together. (The granola can be stored at room temperature in airtight containers for up to 1 month.)


Proud Italian Cook said...

Hi Michelle, My son is a marathon runner and he recently asked me to make him some granola, I haven't as of yet. So yes, I would love this recipe. I'm curious to see what its sweetened with as he is very particular. lol, i went to the library on Saturday going through old cookbooks. Great minds think alike!

Michelle said...

Marie -
Wow! That is quite an accomplishment to run a marathon. I posted the recipe for you. It is sweetened with honey and maple syrup, so that sounds pretty healthy, but I dont' see why you couldn't sustitute some other type of sweetener. My son, the particular eater in our family, suggested I try another batch using Agave syrup as the sweetener and pumpkin seeds. Not a bad idea! That is quite a coincidence that we've both visited our local libraries at the same time. Great minds do think alike! Best of luck to your son!

Linda said...

I'm the same way when it comes to the library and cookbooks - I too will go and lug home a full bag and also read them like novels. There is such pleasure in that free experience.

I've never made granola, actually we don't really eat it, but this sounds delicious, so maybe I'll have to give it a try.


Michelle said...

Linda -
I thought I was the only one who read a cookbook straight through like a novel. And you go to the library too. Another great mind thinking alike! This granola is more of a 'dried cereal, nut snack' so my kids like to carry it with them in a ziploc bag to school. A nice change from store bought breakfast bars.