On Sunday I woke up, looked out my window, and smiled.
A foggy morning in Bird Creek
Rain. Glorious, foggy, dreary rain. You see, summers in Southcentral Alaska can inspire manic activity. We want to make up for the long winter. We want to use every moment of daylight. We want to squeeze every drop of joy from the beautiful surroundings. Hike every mountain. Ford every stream. You get the idea.
So when Mother Nature gives me a rainy day, I say "Thank you." I sleep in. I don't get out of my pajamas. I put on some trashy tv. I putter around the kitchen for hours. This rainy day, I decided to send my sweetheart, who'll be working on a job outside of Anchorage for a couple weeks, with a couple loaves of fresh bread and a big batch of Fiddlehead granola.
Growing up, my mom made granola a lot, and to this day, I have a hard time buying it. I also have a hard time deviating from her recipe-especially the toasted coconut- but here we go!
Many tasty things in the tub.
This is my "granola tub." It has enough nuts, dried fruits, seeds and oatmeal to get me through a long winter. And chocolate. It turns out I only have 4 cups of oatmeal, so I just slightly reduced all the other amounts. This begins a series of adjustments. I had no sunflower seeds, but I did have some pumpkin seeds. I also like adding flax for... well whatever the trend du jour du flax is about...
I scooped some crystallized honey from their jars. That darker honey is some buckwheat honey from Upstate New York. Its really deep flavor is almost like molasses. It is delicious, and precious, so I only add a little to things that call for honey. I heated the honeys up in the microwave, added canola oil (does anyone really keep safflower oil around?) and stirred it in.
This recipe differs a little from my mom's in a couple ways. 1) You don't add nuts until after the base has been cooked and 2) you let the granola "rest" for 1/2 hour before baking. The resting worked out perfectly for me, because I had a loaf of bread baking in the oven. I'm not sure what the effect on taste is.
Soaking up the goodness
The granola (sans dried fruit and nuts) went onto a cookie sheet and into the oven. I stirred it everyone once and awhile, taking special care to get the edges, because I know from experience that they burn quickly. When I pulled it out, I realized I could have done a better job. One corner got pretty burned. I think my oven was a little too hot, and the pan continued to cook the granola while it was 'cooling'. Not good. I've dumped it out to cool onto parchment before, rather than a bowl (it'll get soggy if it's too crowded) but didn't do that this time. Thankfully, things didn't get too burned. I added some pecans and walnuts I had lying around, as well as sultanas (random fact, I don't like regular raisins. But I can't get enough of golden raisins!) dried cranberries and a handful of dried cherries.
Clearly, granola lends itself to close ups!
After it cooled, it went into a gallon bag. But not before I grabbed a handful to nibble on. It was great! Soon, it was in my sweetheart's "packing pile" along with the dastardly hot sauce. Of course.