Simple, tasty, and healthy
I try very hard to bring the right little seasonal gift to anyone I visit in their home for a BBQ, or summer gathering. Unless it is an assigned dish for a potluck or a BYOB, I am loath to arrive with yet another little package of shortbread cookies. No point competing with the hosts’ Aunt Martha.
So I splurge and bring nuts — the bigger and the more expensive, like pecans and walnuts and macadamias, the better. Surprisingly enough, the best roasted nuts I ever bought were from a little shop in Ramallah two years ago. I used to give my dog nuts casually until someone told me they were really bad for them. Who knew? Well, nuts are good for me, especially walnuts. A lot of information is coming out all the time about their health value.
Remember to toast any nuts as you use them in your recipes and freeze them in well-sealed baggies until you do.
- 1 1/3 cup fine white sugar or castor sugar (castor sugar can be made by fine grinding white sugar in a food processor)
- 1 generous cup of any nuts: walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, cashews, macadamias, brazil nuts
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Put sugar into a saucepan and warm over a low heat. Shake the pan to dissolve evenly. Keep a close eye on the pan and cook until the sugar is a dark golden brown. Pour in nuts and stir once with a wooden spoon.
Dip the bottom of the pan quickly in and out of cold water to stop the sugar burning.
Pour the praline onto your baking parchment sheet and spread out evenly.
Wash the pan and spoon immediately in warm water or leave to soak.
Cool for 20 minutes and then break into pieces.
Seal tightly in a tin or jar.
Cherry, macadamia, and coconut granola
- 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 2 cups unsweetened coconut
- 6 tablespoons golden brown sugar
- 2 cups macadamia nuts lightly roasted
- 1/2 cup light vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup light liquid honey
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 cups dried cherries, halved
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
Toss the oats, coconut, sugar, and nuts together in a large bowl. Pour the vegetable oil and honey over this mixture. Add the cinnamon, and stir with a wooden spoon until all the oats and nuts are coated with the liquid. Pour onto a parchment papered sheet pan. Bake, stirring occasionally with a spatula, until the mixture turns a nice, even golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Add the cherries and cook for 10 more minutes.
granola from the oven and allow to cool, stirring occasionally. Store the cooled granola in an airtight container. Makes approximately 10 cups.
Of course one can always add more salt or sugar to taste, especially before cooling the recipes down. There is something so yummy about the savoury embracing the sweet.
Seaton Village resident Susan Oppenheim is Java Mama, an independent coffee roaster, baker, avid traveller, and activist. She is the mother of three adult children and the grandmother of three. Susan can be reached by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.