Hey, there. I hope you didn’t have any trouble finding the new address. Seek a Little Solace has found a new place in cyberspace and we’re finally settling in. Welcome to our new digs! There are still a few kinks to work out, some broken links and funky formatting, but I think it’s coming along nicely and presentable enough for guests. Won’t you come in and join me for a little housewarming? Perhaps a cup of tea and a little something sweet to celebrate the occasion.
It’s been a little dreary out around these parts and with a weekend, plus a day, it seemed the perfect opportunity to stay indoors and tend to a little housekeeping. We’ve been working on this blog transition for a while now and though it’s been hard to find the time to tend to the moving tasks, I think we’re finally ready to commit to the move. So, we are unpacking the boxes, cleaning out the cobwebs and settling in. And what better way to celebrate than with a cup of tea and something sweet to eat.
Nothing says cozy and homey to me like a warm cup of chai tea. So, of course, that’s how I chose to commemorate the recent move. For a little something sweet, a quick and healthy treat, I’ve been gravitating toward granola lately. And so it came to be, this Vanilla Chai Granola.
Several weeks ago, I made this batch of homemade chai spice. It is always nice to have on hand for occasions and cravings such as this. A few weeks ago, I baked a batch of homemade granola that didn’t turn out quite as I had planned. It was tasty, but I burned it a bit, it was dry and the flavor was lacking a little something. So, I tried again. This time with some of that chai spice, some sticky honey and sweet super fruits.
Typically, granola is breakfast fare, but around here, we consider it dessert. Just the thing to satisfy that after-dinner sweet tooth. But once-in-a-while, for special occasions, we indulge in a big breakfast bowl of homemade granola. It is such a cinch to make your own at home, why bother with those little bags from the health food store that practically break the bank and don’t last long at all? Besides which, you can use such a wide variety of ingredients to tailor it to your own tastes and dietary needs. I used oats and buckwheat groats for this particular batch. Sometimes we need to go light on the grains and pump up the protein, in which case I might use a base of nuts and seeds instead. You can flavor your homemade granola with add-ins to satisfy just about any dietary desire, be it fruit or spice or whatever entices your tastes buds in the moment. In the spirit of settling in, I was feeling that cozy and homey vibe of chai spice.
It’s a simple recipe, there’s really nothing to it. You can fancy it up any way want. I usually prefer some sort of dried fruit in my granola, it’s just a matter of whether I’m feeling tart or sweet. Today we happened to have a brand-new bag of those super-sweet white mulberries. They are a precious commodity in this household and they never last long, so I snagged ’em while I had the chance. And I added some goji berries. Those two always make a good pair and together they make any dish more delightfully dense in nutrients. Last time I used maple syrup and almond butter for the sweet and sticky factor, but this time I opted for honey. My husband, he’s a big fan of the honey, but he’s adamant that it must be raw and local. We usually buy our honey from the local folks who graciously provide our organic produce. But in a pinch, I can usually find a bottle of raw California honey in one of the grocery stores. Now I don’t know about you, but I am a granola cluster kind of girl. I love those sticky, crunchy chunks that you can pick up with your hands and munch on any time of day. I find the key to creating clusters (and I must admit, I am not always successful at it) is in the oily and sticky factors and something in the baking. I think there must be a magical combination that I’ve yet to discover, for creating those perfect, crunchy clusters. No matter, the house smells divine with this concoction in the oven!
Vanilla Chai Granola
- 3 cups rolled oats (gluten-free, if necessary)
- 1 cup raw buckwheat groats
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
- 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup raw almond, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup coconut palm sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chai spice mix (adjust to your own taste)
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/2 cup honey (hopefully local and raw)
- 1 1/2 cup dried mulberries, goji berries and golden raisins
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. (You can also use a dehydrator if you prefer your granola to be raw. Dehydrator times can vary depending on the brand. My granola usually needs about 24 hours at 115 degrees.)
- In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, buckwheat groats, nuts and seeds, coconut, palm sugar, salt and chai spice.
- If necessary, melt coconut butter in small saucepan over low heat. Add oil, honey, vanilla and dried fruit to dry ingredients. Stir until all ingredients are well-mixed.
- Spread mixture evenly on a baking pan and bake at 325 for about 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. When granola is cooled, remove from the pan using a spatula, trying to keep those crunchy, munchy clusters in tact. Store in an airtight container for…well, it won’t be around too long ;)
I guess I must have produced some satisfactory clusters with this batch, because I keep finding fingers inside the granola jar whose contents are quickly disappearing. Of course, that big granola bowl I thoroughly enjoyed for breakfast might have had a little something to do with it. Thank you for taking the time to stop by and check out the new house, I so enjoyed your stay. Thank you for baking with me and joining me for tea, I couldn’t ask for a better housewarming. It’s beginning to feel like home now, this new place in cyberspace and I would love to know what you think.
Please stop by anytime. I always enjoy your company :)