Friday, November 9, 2012

granola-crusted nuts

granola nuts

Seeing as I’ve already admitted that I’m kind of a terrible host, I might as well let the confessional continue and tell you that I’m a terrible traveler. Oh, I don’t mean that I kvetch and whine the whole time (though you might want to ask Alex if he agrees, now that we’ve taken six flights and visited five cities in eight days together!), I just mean that I never do any of those really great things those really smart people writing really quite logical articles suggest, like keeping the amount of stuff you bring down so that it will fit in one of those bitty suitcases you can stuff into overhead. I don’t roll my clothing to prevent wrinkles or have my most important items in my carry-on so I won’t be at a loss if my luggage is. I never have one of those scarfy/pashmina things to use as a blanket/pillow/tent of warmth on the plane or train, nor do I remember Vitamin C, hand sanitizer, eye masks, earplugs or to eschew caffeine for purer forms of hydration, like water, and I never, ever remember to pack a wholesome homemade snack.

However, if you are one of the people that fits the description above, I would immensely love to travel with you. May I interest you in a book tour?

oats, cinnamon, coconut, brown shuga
oats, coconut, pepitas, sugar, salt

If I were, however, I’d bring these. I wasn’t actually trying to make these when I did. I was trying to make a fall crepe. But, I decided that pumpkin crepes were kind of boring, and when trying to figure out something to gussy them up with (maple yogurt? something crunchy?) I realized that a nut would be wonderful. But then I started kicking around ideas like maple-butter walnuts and spicy-sweet-pecans I decided it was rather lame that most spiced nuts are full of butter, sugar and bacon and this was breakfast, surely they could be a tiny bit indulgent but also wholesome. And then I made these and I entirely forgot about the pumpkin crepes. (Really. We had the delight of evacuating them from our fridge after a few days of a power outage and trust me, you wouldn’t be hungry for pumpkin crepes after that either!)

walnuts and pecans

Here’s why they rule: there’s no added butter or oil or fat aside from that which is already in the nut itself. Its crusted with just a tiny bit of sugar, but a lot of oats, coconut, seeds and pretty much anything else wholesome you like to mix into your granola. They’re spectacularly easy to make and they work as well as a snack as they do mixed into yogurt (imagine having a bag of these in your suitcase when you travelled! And you could have them with your yogurt every morning! Man, I wish I knew people who thought of things like this.) They’d also be a great housewarming/hostess/holiday gift as they keep really well but the best part about them is that every single one of them is like the very best part of granola: the giant clusters. The ones you fish out. Don’t even try to pretend otherwise.

whisking the egg white
coating the nuts
all baked, cooling
granola crusted nuts
granola crusted walnuts and pecans

NYC Launch Rescheduled — Tomorrow! Oh, we were so sad when we had to cancel the New York cookbook launch event on October 30th, but we’re delighted that we’ve been able to reschedule it so quickly: tomorrow (Saturday, 11/10) at the Williams-Sonoma at 59th Street & Lexington (across town from the Columbus Circle store, where the initial event was scheduled) at 3 p.m. I will demo my Mom’s Apple Cake from the book and site, there will be time for Q&A and I will sign books. While Williams-Sonoma would love it if you’d buy a copy of the book there, all will be welcome at the signing. (Note: This policy has been adjusted from the original requirement.) I really hope you’ll be able to make it. [Details]

Book Touring! The first week of The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook Book Tour — Los Angeles, Napa, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Portland, Vancouver and Seattle — has been absolutely, overwhelmingly incredible. Meeting so many of you has been an amazing experience and you are all so very nice. I feel incredibly lucky to know you. Next week, I will be in Washington DC (with my mama!) in the beginning of the week and Toronto at the end, then Chicago over the weekend and into early the week after. Which will be Thanksgiving. I have no idea how that happened. Still, I can’t wait.

Comments, emails, tweets: I typically take pride in spending at least an hour each morning reviewing and responding to new comments and other details. Alas, I am very far behind but will be catching up as soon as possible. I appreciate your patience. I miss you too.

One year ago: Gingersnaps
Two years ago: Spaghetti with Chickpeas
Three years ago: Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats
Four years ago: Peanut Butter Crispy Bars
Five years ago: Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic
Six years ago: Stewed Lentils and Tomatoes

Granola-Crusted Nuts

My preference here is for walnuts; my husband prefers pecans, so we compromised. Any nut can be used but those bumpy, craggy ones will manage to stow more granola coating.

New note: If you’d like to add additional sweetness with honey or maple syrup, you can probably skip the water in the egg white. The purpose of it is just to thin the egg white enough that it coats well.

These are as excellent with breakfast as they would be for a travel snack or gift.

3/4 cup rolled oats (quick-cooking or old-fashioned will work; instant might get a little dusty)
1/4 cup shredded or flaked unsweetened coconut
2 tablespoons pepitas, or another nut or seed of your choice
1/4 cup dark or light brown sugar (for low-to-moderate sweetness)
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Few pinches sea salt
1 large egg white
2 teaspoons water (adjusted from 1 T)
2 cups (approximately 1/2 pound) walnuts, pecans or nuts that you prefer

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a food processor, pulse oats, coconut, pepitas, sugar, cinnamon and salt in short bursts until the mixture is very well chopped but not powdery — it needn’t be like a flour. In a large bowl, beat egg white and water until frothy (but not stiff). Add nuts to bowl and coat them very well, using a few more stirs than will seem necessary because if the egg doesn’t get into the craters of the nuts, no granola will stick there. And that would be sad. Pour oat mixture into bowl and very gently fold it together with the nuts, so that it just barely sticks. (I found that if you stirred it a lot, the mixture just started falling off, so just a few folds will do.) You’ll have more granola coating than will seem necessary, but this is fine. Spread nuts-and-granola out on baking sheet in a single layer but no need to separate them. Sprinkle any granola mix leftover in the bowl over the nuts.

Bake for 20 minutes, moving nuts around just once in the baking time so that the inner nuts get as toasty as the ones at the edge, and up to 10 minutes more if they don’t look toasty yet at 20 minutes. Transfer pan to cooling rack and let nuts cool completely there. Once fully cool, break up any nut clusters and place mixture in jars/bags/your hand.


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