maple almond granola

This is the best granola I’ve ever made. 
I am the kind of girl who never makes the same recipe twice, I am always on the quixotic search for the best recipe out there (see recipe showdown).  However, this is my new “go-to” granola recipe (and this girl doesn’t do “go-to” recipes!).  

So I was telling you all about how I have justified that making granola as vital to my success in school.  I made my honey bunches of oats granola, a few days ago which was very crumbly, aromatic, and perfect for sprinkling on yogurt. But after drilling through 300+ Chinese flashcards, I was craving something with body.  I needed some real, chunky, clumpy granola.  So another batch was definitely necessary.  I tried a few granola recipes that I had lying around the kitchen, but they all turned out crispy and very un-clumpy… :'( I was about to give up and actually do some studying…

Then I found the one. 

This perfectly sweet, and super chunky recipe stole my heart at first bite.  The addition of almond flour, egg whites, and coconut oil, combined with a low oven temperature and slow baking time makes for the most magical, clumpy granola I have ever tasted. 

I remember in middle school my mom and I would stand at the kitchen counter and eat granola standing up.  We figured out that if you shake the container, the chunks magically rise to the top.  We felt like Newton when he discovered gravity (but lets not talk about Physics class now…). Everytime one of us would say “chunk” we would shake the box and the chunks would rise to the top. This was mother daughter bonding at its finest.

I am drooling as I type, thinking about this amazing granola… to bad it’s already all gone.  Othello can wait… I think I need to preheat the oven. 😉
Do you like clumpy granola?
With love,
Erica

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa (feel free to just use another 1/2 cup oats)
  • 1/2 cup almond flour (*I make my own)
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup roasted almonds, chopped
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cloves 
  • 1 teaspoon ginger

Preheat oven to 300F. Line 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
Place the oats, quinoa, almond flour, whole wheat flour,
slivered almonds, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and salt in a stand mixer. Pour melted coconut oil evenly over the mixture and mix (you could also do this in a large bowl with a wooden spoon).  Set aside.
Combine maple syrup and dark brown sugar in a medium pot over medium
heat. Stir until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and add vanilla
extract.  Pour this mixture over oat mixture and mix until
everything begins to come together. Lightly beat the egg whites until foamy, and stir into granola.
Press firmly into prepared baking pan, flattening the top so it is perfectly
even.
Bake for 40 minutes, rotating the pan every 10 minutes. Remove from
heat and let sit for a couple minutes. Cut into squares and break up
into smaller (but not too small!) cluster pieces.
Throw the clusters back into the baking pan and bake the clusters for 10
more minutes at 300F.
Remove from oven and let the clusters cool completely,

Homemade Almond Flour

  1. Pour 1/2 cup almonds into a food processor or blender. Pulse just a few
    times until they are finely ground.
  2. Once the nuts are ground, pass them through a sifter.  Any larger pieces that didn’t make it through can be ground up again.

Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

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best of 2012

2012 was a huge culinary milestone for me. The end of this year has me feeling quite nostalgic — I finished freshman year, I started track and field, I successfully whipped my first meringue.  This year will always be remembered, as Cannella Vita was founded in 2012, and since has become such a precious part of my life.  Although I know I will have a blast doing new, crazy things with my Kitchen Aid in 2013, I want to take a moment and remember all of the sweet kitchen victories I had this year.  I am going to share with you the seven most popular posts of 2012, as well as the seven most delicious and underrated posts of the year (that should really get some attention in 2013!). 

With love,
Erica

The Seven Most Popular Posts of 2012
 
The Seven Most Deliciously Underrated Recipes of 2012
Peach Cobbler Ice Cream
This was the first time I made my own ice cream (quite sentimental).  Full of farmer’s market peaches and crushed graham crackers, I couldn’t keep my hands off of this!
I will never forget the victory dance I did when I doused a batch of this fresh out of the oven with ice cold milk.  Coconut oil is a gift from the gods.

This may have been the best cake I have ever eaten. Ever.

My loyal readers will know that banana bread has a very special place in my heart — this cinnamon crumble loaf is one of the best I’ve ever tasted.

I’ve tried many brownie recipes, and this super fudge-y version is the best I’ve ever tasted.
These cookies are perfection — especially when sandwiched with coconut mascarpone.

Sweet Potato Casserole
This casserole stole the show at Thanksgiving this year!

milk chocolate cupcakes

These are best chocolate cupcakes I’ve ever had. No tricks, no gimmicks, just really good chocolate cake. I have made many mediocre chocolate cupcakes (as well as a few fails here or there). This is my perfected recipe — one that I love to have in my pocket for parties, bake sales and other events, because who doesn’t love a perfect chocolate cupcake?

oozing with creamy chocolate sauce.

As much as I love to experiment with snazzy cupcake flavors, time will tell that these chocolate ones never fail to impress. In fact, at the cupcake tasting contest I hosted, these cupcakes disappeared way before their fancy counterparts such as strawberry cheesecake, or lemon blueberry. It goes to show that nothing beats a good chocolate cupcake.

However, I have to admit that plain chocolate cupcakes seem a bit boring to me. That’s why I took these chocolate cupcakes to the next level by filling them with my favorite chocolate sauce, frosting them with rich cream cheese icing, and topping them off with a luxurious little triangle of high-quality, melt-in-your-mouth Lindt chocolate (because who doesn’t love Lindt chocolate?). So although quite simple, these milk chocolate cupcakes are far from ordinary.
With love,
Erica

erica’s chocolate cupcakes 
ingredients
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
3/4 cup hot coffee
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons vegetable oil (I usually use olive)
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

cream cheese frosting: *you will have leftovers (but this can be saved and used in countless other confections)

16 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
3 tablespoons shortening
6 tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature
2 pounds confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

chocolate sauce for filling (either homemade or store bought)

Lindt (or other fancy, good quality chocolate for topping)

cupcakes:
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard-size muffin pan baking liners. Place chocolate and cocoa in medium bowl. Pour hot coffee over mixture and whisk until smooth. Set in refrigerator to cool completely, about 20 minutes. Whisk flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside. Whisk oil, eggs, vinegar, and vanilla into cooled chocolate-cocoa mixture until smooth. Add flour mixture and whisk until smooth.
Divide batter evenly among muffin pan cups. Bake until cupcakes are set and just firm to touch, 17 to 19 minutes. Cool to room temperature before frosting.

frosting:
In a the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together, cream cheese, shortening, and butter until well combined.
With the mixer of low, gradually add the confectioners’ sugar until thoroughly incorporated and smooth. Add vanilla and mix to combine.

assembling the cupcakes:
Core each  cupcake with either a small ice cream scoop or cupcake corer.
Fill generously with chocolate sauce.
Top with a swirl of cream cheese frosting, and a piece of chocolate.