Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Dark Run and Deep Dark Granola

It has been very dark in the mornings lately when I go out running.  I miss the sun, but it is kind of nice to have the roads to myself being that it is early and not very many other people want to run in the dark. Yesterday I headed out for my run I was thinking I just wanted to crawl back into my warm bed...but once I got going I was glad I had gotten my butt up and gone out.  I often use the time to think, and yesterday among many other things, I was thinking about granola...probably because I was a bit hungry, and I knew I was going to make a batch some time this weekend. 

Then dates came to mind...dark, sweet, gooey dessert like and heavenly.  They would have to be included in my granola creation!  Maybe they came to mind because it was so dark out and the clouds were covering up the hunter's moon that had helped a few days before with being able to see in the morning.  The dark of dates... got me to thinking, how about a "dark" granola, with molasses and maple to flavor it.  Molasses in granola?  Yes, it is very good, add just a little bit to your granola and it deepens the flavor and gives it a wonderful darker color!  But of course I needed to think of some add ins as well...I was going to be rather selfish this time and make this granola with all of my favorite ones.  Walnuts, Pecans and coconut flakes.  Rather simple, but I enjoy the texture of walnuts and pecans in granola, above all other nuts.  I got to thinking how walnuts look like brains...but that is besides the point.  Who says I can't think randomly on my long runs by  myself?  Plus all this granola thinking was making me hungry, and the smell of baked goods being vented out of a nearby bakery wasn't helping!  I finished the run feeling good, and I was happy that I had come up with a cleaver granola to make! 

I always look forward to it, as it is something I crave, and I love it while it is still warm out of the oven.  This batch was no exception...I spoiled my appetite for dinner in the process of making this but it was all well worth it!  It was the most caramelly complex tasting batch of granola I have ever made, and I make it about every other week!  The gooey sweet dates were a nice contrast to the salty crunchy nut filled granola...maybe I thought this batch was particularily good because it contained all my favorites...but you could try making it for yourself and see if you agree! 

Deep Dark Date and Nut Granola
Makes about 14 cups of delicious granola

6 cups old fashioned rolled oats
3 cups walnuts
3 cups pecans
3 cups large flake coconut
3/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp molassess
3 Tbsp maple sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon
2 tsp cardamom
1 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp maple extract
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
3 cups dried medjool dates, pitted and cut into smaller pieces

Line a large baking sheet with non-stick foil, and spray with cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 350 and set rack at the medium position. In a large bowl, combine oats, walnuts, pecans, and coconut, and set aside. In another bowl, whisk together oil, syrup, molasses, maple sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, sea salt, maple and vanilla extracts until well combined, then pour over oat mixture and toss to coat until completely blended. Pour out onto prepared baking sheet, and spread out evenly. Bake for 35 minutes, stirring about every 10 minutes or so until the granola is evenly browned. Remove from oven and let cool. Stir in the dates and enjoy!


penny aka jeroxie said...

you have just given me an idea on how to use up my dates!

Anonymous said...

This granola looks delicious! I love the presentation of it in the mason jar. I have trouble pulling myself out of beds for morning runs too, especially now that it is darker and colder in the mornings, but am also always glad when I am out and running.

Suchitra said...

I love granolas and I am addicted to them- this looks really good!

Lauren Zabaneh said...

Nothing like some crunchy, wholesome granola! love the mason jar too. I love the smell of granola cozy.

Susi said...

Fantastic looking and sounding granola! Love to eat it for breakfast or even snack! I'm bookmarking this one!