Gingerbread Granola

LVV MoFo 2014 main

S and I were at Whole Foods the other day, trying to stay focused, stick to our shopping list, and ignore the siren’s call of the bulk aisle, when he casually asked me whether I would be making granola again anytime soon. I opted to interpret that as a thinly veiled request and decided it was the perfect opportunity to play with a granola flavor I’d wanted to try for a while: gingerbread.

This granola took two attempts to perfect. I tried to get fancy with the first batch, substituting my beloved raw buckwheat groats for some of the oats, going a bit wild with the spices, and playing fast and loose with the oven temperature. The result was a crumbly, overly ginger-y, and slightly burnt batch. Don’t get me wrong; I still nibbled the crap out of it as I prepared the second batch. And that second batch was much improved.

Gingerbread Granola

Gingerbread Granola
Serves six

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup or dark brown sugar
  • 2 cups rolled oats (I like Bob’s Red Mill Rolled Oats)
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 1 heaping teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 C crystallized ginger, diced

Preheat oven to 300˚ and line a flat baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a small saucepan, add the coconut oil, molasses, and maple syrup or brown sugar. Stir to combine, heating over low so that the oil melts. Once all ingredients are well mixed, turn off the heat and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, add all the dry ingredients. Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and mix with a large wooden spoon. Once the dry ingredients are thoroughly mixed and coated with the wet ingredients, pour the granola onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 30-35 minutes, removing from the oven and stirring every ten minutes or so. Remove from the oven and let cool for at least ten minutes before eating.

Note: If you prefer a sweeter granola, feel free to reduce the molasses by a tablespoon.

Gingerbread Granola

Second time’s the charm, I guess! (Although I have to admit that I did slightly burn this batch as well… oy.) I imagine this granola would be fantastic atop a bowl of vanilla soy yogurt—the spicy flavors would play perfectly with the sweet, cool yogurt. Sans yogurt, you’re looking at nearly 17% of your recommended daily value of calcium in a serving, along with 6 grams of protein and 19% of your recommended daily value of iron. Adding a 6-ounce carton of soy yogurt will increase your calcium intake by about 30% of your RDV, depending on the brand. Take that, Whole Foods.

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Brekkie for Din-Din: Whole-wheat Ginger-Apple Pancakes

Based on this post’s title, you might assume that I am a British four-year-old. Add 20 years to that age and replace “British” with “American” and you’re correct! Heh heh. But let’s be real – whether you’re four or 24*, breakfast for dinner is equally awesome. Last night I indulged in that time-honored excuse for eating sweet foods for dinner as a method for curing a mild case of the blues.

A stack of five pancakes, covered in maple syrup, sit on a blue plate. To the left are three slices of apples. In the background is a bowl of chocolate chia pudding and a bottle of ginger syrup.

Stacked!

These are Whole Wheat Ginger-Apple Pancakes and Hell Yeah It’s Vegan‘s Chocolate Chia Pudding (barely visible in the background). During my post-work dinner-making, I put together the pudding first and let it gel in the fridge while I mixed the pancake batter. Then, while I cleaned up around the kitchen, I let my pancake batter sit in the fridge for fifteen minutes or so. Vegan with a Vengeance taught me that pancake batter does best when the gluten has a chance to rest. ;) Once the gluten was relaxed, so was I, and I took the batter to its stovetop demise.

A similar picture to the previous one, but these pancakes have no maple syrup.

Nakie pancakes!

The act of chowing down on pancakes and trying my first-ever chia pudding (!) helped pull me out of the dumps, but the real restorative was the simple process of meal-making. I’m sure many of you can relate to the relaxing, cathartic nature of baking (and, often, cooking). Focusing my energies on mixing and measuring and mincing calms me down and quiets my mind. Following recipes gives my brain the chance to focus on a specific task, one with a set beginning and end (and a delicious result). And simply waiting for the disparate components of a recipe to cohere into a unified result is an exercise in patience, one I often need at the end of a busy or stressful day. In short, the kitchen can be a haven for me, as long as I’m mindfully making my meals instead of zipping through the steps, distracted and unfocused.

Food musing aside, let’s return to these pancakes. Would you like the recipe for them? Regardless of your answer, I’m going to share it with you. :)

Whole-wheat Ginger-Apple Pancakes

Serves two

  • 1/2 T ground flaxseed + 1.5 T warm water
  • 3/4 C whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 T baking powder
  • 1.5 T vegan cane sugar
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1/8 t ground ginger
  • Dash salt
  • 3/4 C almond milk
  • 1 T ginger syrup (optional; maple syrup is a fine substitution)
  • Scant 1 t very finely minced fresh ginger
  • 1-2 T almond milk (as necessary)
  • 1/2 medium-sized apple, peeled and diced

In a small bowl, mix together the flax and water and set aside. In a larger bowl, add all the dry ingredients and thoroughly mix. Add the remaining wet ingredients (except for the 1-2 T almond milk and the apple) to the flax mixture and stir until all the wet ingredients are incorporated. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until just combined. If the batter seems a bit dry, add the remaining almond milk as necessary. If possible, let your batter sit in the fridge for ten or more minutes.

When you’re ready to make the pancakes, heat a nonstick pan on medium heat and fold the diced apple into the batter. Turn the heat down a bit (to medium-lowish). Pour half-cup spoonfuls onto the pan and cook until bubbles form on the upper side, then flip them. When you can easily slide a thin, nonstick spatula beneath them, they’re probably ready. Serve with maple syrup and enjoy!

These autumnal pancakes hit all the right notes for me; they pack a great gingery wallop and they made for an excellent relaxed Friday-night dinner. I was glad to use some of the organic ginger syrup I purchased a while back; it’s a great product but I always forget to use it!

I also loved the chia pudding – I’ve seen it around the blogosphere for years now, but I’ve been hesitant to try it. After buying a big ol’ bag of chia seeds at Costco recently, I knew I had to give it a chance. And I’m so glad I did, even if it’s not the most beautiful of foods.

A bowl of very dark chocolaty chia pudding; it's not very smooth and has lots of little tiny chia seeds.

Ch-ch-ch-chocolate chia!

Although having crunchy seeds in a pudding does take some getting used to, the consistency is really fun, and the chocolaty flavor in this particular recipe was amazing. I could only eat a few bites, though, so I saved the rest for this morning. Maybe I’ll follow breakfast for dinner with dessert for breakfast. ;)

What do you make with chia seeds? What’s your stance on breakfast for dinner? Is cooking a stressor or a de-stressor for you?

* Help, I can’t stop writing using the Microsoft Manual of Style!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something through my link, it costs nothing extra for you, but I get a few pennies to help cover hosting costs.