Almond Spice Granola
Posted by hsimpsongrossman on April 19, 2014
“Thirty seconds what?!” I assumed Howard wanted me to be in his office in 30 seconds. Or answer one of his emails.
“Thirty seconds is the longest message you can leave on my voice mail, Hannah. Longer than that and I press “erase”! And the same, by the way, goes for the other Managing Directors and Senior Partners over here.”
Since that exchange, I timed myself each and every time I left someone over there a voice message. I must have recorded, erased and re-recorded millions of messages that didn’t meet his criteria. I learned to actually think through my messages in advance, got accustomed to dropping some effective key words (mention taking things to the next level or needing to pivot from plan A and your messages will never go unanswered) and adopted a quiet, serious tone. I played ball. And don’t get the wrong impression – Howard was one of many great mentors from “my” investment bank, as well as a good friend.
Being succinct, though, never became second nature for me in real life. You know me. I love to talk. That’s what this blog is really about.
Yet every now and then I have no choice but to cut long winded stories short, and air-out that no-nonsense me. The hectic days before Pessach (Passover) are one example for such occasions. It’s bad enough that I am seen spending time on my computer rather then cleaning during those days, the least I can do is keep it short.
Since we are now in the midst of those pre-Pessach days, I have decided to allot not more than 10 sentences for introducing this wonderfully addictive, aromatic, gluten-free Spicy Almond granola, for Passover and all year round, begging now:
Unexpectedly bumping into a dear, old friend in the supermarket, led to meeting Yael, who has miraculously managed to do what so many before her had not. Yael, in her soft, funny, sensible way, has been helping me shake off some pretty nasty eating habits I was shackled by for over two decades now.
While trying to find nourishing substitutes for my newly found healthy snacks, Yael suggested that I crumble roasted almond cookies into my yogurt instead of the so not kosher for Pessach granola. As I was freaking out (I’ve never made roasted almond cookies! I don’t have time for new recipes before Pessach!), Yael nonchalantly told me how she makes them and reassured me that they take mere minutes to make.
The idea of crumbling things into my yogurt was difficult for me to digest, so I decided to tweak her cookies a bit and turn them into a more granola feeling concoction. I crushed unbleached almonds rather than using thinly slivered ones, spiced them up a notch, used silan (date honey) rather than sugar (honey or maple sugar should work as well) and scattered them in the baking tin rather than dropping them in mounds.
This Spiced Almond granola proved to be divine sprinkled over some yogurt, with or without sliced fresh fruit or some dried ones (I tried bananas with mine and I’m sure sliced strawberries, peaches, kiwis and so on, would be just as prefect), with milk or just by themselves as an energy booster on one of you Pessach hikes.
That’s it. I’m done with the fluff. (Go ahead, double check me. If you have nothing better to do on Passover eve, count those sentences (including this one) and eat your hats!)
Oh, and one “professional” comment (which, as such, doesn’t count towards my 10 sentences of blubber), the egg white gives this “granola” a shiny look, smooth flavor and can produce chunky-clustered granola if desired, in which case spread the almonds in a tight layer and do not mix while baking but only rotate the baking sheet. Once they have cooled down, break them into clusters.
06.01.2014 update: I found that using oil (olive or coconut) rather than water results in a silkier texture and flavor (well, duhhh!). So you can stick to the water but those of you who do not fear a few more calories might want to try whisking the egg white with oil.
Spicy Almond Granola on the Spot: Crush Almonds. Beet egg white and water. Mix with the Almonds. Toss with mixed spices. Bake. Voilà!
Spicy Almond Granola
Ingredients, for about 2 cups:
Olive oil/olive oil cooking spray, for greasing baking sheet
2 cups raw (unbleached) almonds
1 egg white
2 tablespoons olive or coconut oil (or 1 tablespoon of water)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoons grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
A pinch of ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon freshly crushed black pepper (depending on how spicy you like your nuts)
4 tablespoons silan /honey/maple syrup
A pinch of coarse sea salt (kosher salt will do too), for topping
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and grease with olive oil or cooking spray.
Place almonds on a firm surface and crush them into large pieces, using a cook hammer or a sharp knife. You might want to place the almonds in a plastic or paper bag if using a cook hammer to prevent bits of crushed almonds flying all over the kitchen (we forgot that valuable tip).
Whisk together (or get a sue chef, such as Perfect Son) the egg white and olive or coconut oil (or water) until uniform and frothy.
Add the almonds to the egg mixture and stir until evenly coated.
Scatter the almonds on the baking sheet.
Drizzle with silan (or honey/maple syrup) and toss to coat.
In a separate bowl, mix together cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, salt, and pepper.
Sprinkle the spice mixture on the almonds and toss well to ensure that all of the almonds are covered. If you desire almond granola clusters, arrange them close to each other rather than scattered.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and fragrant (be ware of over baking), rotating baking sheet once in the middle and tossing them once or twice for even baking (do not toss if you’re aiming for clusters).
Remove the toasted almonds from the oven and sprinkle with kosher salt, to taste.
Cool completely before storing in an air tight container.
Store your Spicy Almonds Granola in an airtight container for up to two weeks or freeze for a few months.
I keep mine in the freezer and don’t even bother defrosting prior to noshing.
Filed under Healthy Snacks