This morning, I kept up my habit of cracking the studio window to see if it's cool enough to turn off the air conditioning. Our building has steam heat pipes running through it and there's no heat control, so in the winter we have to open the windows and after the first day it hits 50°F or higher, put in the air conditioning. I've been itching to get a breeze in here for months, and in general I just always wish summer wouldn't exist. (Teen hermit here.) SO, today, I finally felt a cool breeze come through the open window. The air conditioner got turned off, and all of the windows came open.
What's the best way to celebrate this beautiful day and this beautiful breeze? Something fragrant, first of all, because I want the scent of it to blow through the room and into the hallway and make my neighbors jealous. Something fall-inspired. Something easy as heck. Something sweet, because I don't often make desserts and I want it to be special.
I ended up putting together this tasty, sweet, special, easy granola. The secret ingredient, if you couldn't tell by the title, is cookie butter, aka speculoos cookie butter. It's one of those accidentally vegan foods that's totally addictive and strange and can add so much to simple recipes. If you've never tried it, it basically tastes kind of like a spreadable gingerbread. It has the texture of peanut butter but the taste of cookies. You can get it at Trader Joe's, I found this kind pretty easily at Wegmans, or you can get the original online.
The cookie butter made my kitchen smell like I was baking Christmas cookies, without all the work. The inclusion of all sorts of nuts and seeds made this feel healthier than it probably is ;) Adding in chocolate chunks & dried fruit at the end makes it a meal in itself. (Breakfast? Dessert? Snack? Up to you.) Try this out for a sweet quick fix!
This makes about 4-6 cups of granola, or about 6 servings.
You can certainly add in any nuts & seeds you'd like here, this is just what I used. If you decide to add extra dry ingredients, increase the amount of maple & cookie butter accordingly.
- 1 1/2-2 cups rolled oats
- 1/4 cup each slivered almonds, chopped walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and raw sunflower seeds
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 3/4 cup creamy cookie butter
- heaping pinch salt
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- pinch each ground anise, ground cloves, ground nutmeg
If you want to add chocolate or dried fruit, add them in after the granola has baked and cooled, to prevent melting & burning.
- Preheat your oven to 400°F.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the maple syrup, cookie butter, and spices. Pour in the rest of the ingredients and stir until everything is coated and glistening. Make sure that the cookie butter is evenly distributed by breaking apart big clumps.
- Pour into a baking pan, and bake for about 20 minutes, stirring every 5-7 minutes to prevent burning. (My tiny oven burns easily in the back, hence the burned pieces on the one side.) Everything should be golden brown when done.
- Let cool and add any additional ingredients you'd like - dried cranberries, cherries, and chocolate chunks would be great in this. Store in an airtight container and eat within a week or two. I like to put mine in the fridge, especially with chocolate, to keep everything fresh. Enjoy!