Chai-Spiced Granola

chai spiced granola | Recipe via DisplacedHousewife | nice spice, loaded with goodness + lots of granola-making tips

chai spiced granola
| how I eat |

I recently spent several days with a good friend. We stayed up late laughing and talking. We talked a lot about DisplacedHousewife and the cookbook I want to write. There are lots of blogs out there. Some are all sweet. Some are only savory. Some have a little mix of both. There are paleo blogs, whole30 and vegetarian blogs. What’s my angle, what’s my niche we asked? What’s the common thread that strings my recipes together? Ultimately, I think I’m just like you. I think we want balance. I think we yearn for it. We try to eat healthy during the week: acai bowls, oatmeal, salads, scrambled eggs, roasted chicken and lots of greens. Perhaps midweek a cookie craving hits and we make some chocolate chip cookies or snickerdoodles to tide us over until the weekend. Friday, Saturday and Sunday are when we indulge in a different cooking experience. It involves slow cooking, long rises and sauces and sides. It’s when we get to pause, take a breath and really indulge ourselves. The smell of slow-cooked pork shoulder, the color of caramelized onions or the feel of dough after its first rise. I don’t worry about protein or sugar or calories. I think about what will taste good, what’s in season, what my guests will enjoy as we sit around our table. Always laughing and talking, a meal drawn out over hours. Candlelight. Beautiful wine. Good music. Lingering at the table hours after the last bite was taken.

My life is about balance, or striving for balance, and running away from extremes. I find when I cut out sugar, that’s all I’m eating. When I say I’m going to eat a high protein diet, I’m suddenly gagging down a steak that a week earlier I would have savored. I want to live in a world that loves sautéed greens as much as salted caramel cupcakes. And I don’t want to feel bad about it. I want to eat bread and enjoy a perfectly prepared salad, full of layers of flavor and texture. I’ll have a glass of wine or martini when I’m feeling it or have some warmed water with a slice of lemon. Each has its place at my table. I don’t want what I eat or how I cook put in a box. We have so many rules in our life, can we leave them at the kitchen door? You’re nodding your head, aren’t you?

I stayed home on New Year’s Eve and started working on my cookbook proposal, which is a fascinating exercise. What do I want to give you guys? What type of a book would I want to cook from? How would I use it and when? What would my friends use? I hope you’ll drop me a line and tell me what you’re looking for. What’s worked and what hasn’t? What are your favorite cookbooks and why? Feel free to leave notes below…I think we all want to know what cookbooks you love and which ones are languishing at the back of your shelves, perused only on the day they were purchased.

Sometimes I put recipes on here as much for you guys as I do for myself. I cook from my blog all the time. I don’t grab my handwritten recipes, I click on my browser. My grandmother was an amazing cook. I remember what her house smelled like when she would roast a tri tip. My monthly tri tip roasts are as much for my son as they are to get that smell back. But what really shined in her kitchen was her beef vegetable soup. Nothing complicated, but it was perfect. We’ve all asked her about the recipe and she gets a look on her face, I use to make beef vegetable soup she asks? My mom has tried to recreate it and she says she’s close. It’s so disappointing/upsetting/sad that there is no record of her recipes. I hope my memory doesn’t fade like hers, but if it does, I’ll have this collection of recipes for my kids and their kids. And can I just add she is the kindest, sweetest lady possible?

And that, my friends, is why this granola is going up. I love it so so much and I don’t want to lose this recipe. My granola posts are not my busiest or most trafficked pages. There’s nothing sexy about granola in the traditional sense. But we are never without a big glass cylinder of granola on the counter, easily within reach and inspiration. In fact, as soon as I’m done with this post, I’m thinking it needs to be shoved in chocolate chip cookies. With brown butter. Chai Granola + Chocolate Chip Cookies. It’s exciting, right?

Let’s get our granola on…

Before we get started:

  • Ovens are tricky. 300 degrees F may be perfectly fine in my oven, but too hot or not hot enough in your oven. Get to know your oven and trust your judgement. If you think the granola is getting too cooked, turn it down. You want to slow cook + dry out the granola to get some nice, cohesive, crunchy chunks. Likewise, if after 45 minutes nothing is getting the slightest, lightest tan, perhaps you need to turn it up a hair. One last note…I prefer to cook my granola in the top third of the oven. If the bottom of the baking sheet gets too hot, you can start to overcook the rear of your granola. Not good. Just keep an eye on things until you see how your oven is doing.
  • You made granola, now what? My favorite ways to eat granola: big fan of the acai bowl (my acai bowl recipe is here, scroll down the page); I like a bowl with almond milk and fruit (this particular granola snuggles up nicely to banana); shoved in my kid’s lunches for snack time; and by the handful, as I’m running out the door to pick up kids or mid-day when my stomach starts to rumble. I recently shoved it in waffles and OH MY GOD they were magnificent. I’m putting together a Chai Granola Waffle recipe that I will post soon. Keep your eyes peeled…
  • How this granola recipe came to be… I was 100% inspired by @thejamlab’s Chai Spiced Granola. I made it, loved it and ate it all up. And then I ran out of the Dona Chai tea concentrate used to make it and I wanted more granola. I can’t recommend Dona Chai enough (not paid, just the facts), but I sometimes run out and I wanted to give you guys an option with spices available in your cupboard. One last note on granola-making…I got a lot granola-making technique from Tara O’Brady (Seven Spoons cookbook)…it was from her granola recipe that I learned about adding water and oat flour to make your granola clump…she also has you drop it down in clumps. Genius.
  • Please make this! I have that waffle recipe coming up (soon) and I’m definitely making that granola cookie. Yes. We need this in our life.
  • Bananas…don’t think you’ll taste the banana in this recipe. You won’t. We’re strictly using the banana to add clumps, not flavor. If you have a complete banana aversion, leave it out. I’ve made it without and you’ll just have fewer clumps. No big.

chai spiced granola | Recipe via DisplacedHousewife | nice spice, loaded with goodness + lots of granola-making tips

chai spiced granola | Recipe via DisplacedHousewife | nice spice, loaded with goodness + lots of granola-making tips

chai spiced granola | Recipe via DisplacedHousewife | nice spice, loaded with goodness + lots of granola-making tips

chai spiced granola

Makes About 7 Cups

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup quinoa flakes
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds, chopped and whole pieces
  • ½ cup raw pecans, chopped and whole pieces
  • ½ cup oat flour*
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • ¼ cup whole flaxseeds
  • ½ cup hemp seeds
  • ¼ cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup real maple syrup
  • ¼ cup veggie oil (I prefer Sunflower Seed Oil)
  • 1/2 cup mashed banana (about one ripe medium banana)
  • 3 teaspoons real vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons cardamom**
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon all spice
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

*Grind roughly 1 cup of oatmeal in a food processor to yield about 1/2 cup of oat flour.
**I love the strong flavor of cardamom but if you’re new to it you might want to try 1 teaspoon only.

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F. Make sure a rack is in the top third of the oven.
  • Line two large, rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Put the oats, quinoa flakes, almonds, pecans, brown sugar, oat flour, coconut, flaxseeds, hemp seeds and pepitas in a large bowl and mix well.
  • Mix together the water, maple syrup, veggie oil, mashed banana, vanilla extract, almond extract, cinnamon, cardamom, ground ginger, all spice, cloves and sea salt, ideally in a blender, but you could also whisk together if a blender isn’t available. The more incorporated and ground up this banana mixture is, the more clumps you’ll have. Yay.
  • Pour the banana mixture over the oat mixture and blend well.
  • Put half on each baking sheet, dropping in clumps around the sheet.
  • Put in the oven for 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes, use a spatula to flip over the granola. Put the baking sheets back in the oven for another 30 minutes (for a total of 60 minutes baking time) to finish cooking. It smells delicious, doesn’t it? I prefer to bake one sheet of granola at a time. If you do two sheets at a time, make sure to rotate, front to back and top to bottom midway through baking.
  • When done, let sit on the baking sheets until completely cool to the touch.
  • Store in an air-tight container for up to 1 week…freezing any leftovers for a rainy day.
| on my mind |

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chai spiced granola | Recipe via DisplacedHousewife | nice spice, loaded with goodness + lots of granola-making tips

 

17 Comments

  • Traci | Vanilla And Bean 2016/04/14 at 1:45 PM

    Congratulations on your cookbook proposal and thinking deeply about long term goals, often a daunting task. There’s much “I don’t knows” walking into new areas. The cookbooks I cook from don’t necessarily come from one type of dietary theme. They range from vegan, sweet and savory, all the way to carnivore heaven with plenty of baking books in between. I’m drawn to books that cook by season and are organized by vegetable. But I find the books that I love most are from the bloggers I follow and have gotten to know over time like Deb Perelman, Emily Raffa, or Allison Day (hers just came out). Heather Christo and Alanna’s (Bojon) are coming too! I *hear* you, Rebecca on balance. I’m having an ongoing internal dialog about vegan vs vegetarian. I struggle with this because food choice has a major impact on so many parts of our lives and planet. Knowing these things weighs heavy on my mind. So I question, frequently, what I’m putting out to the world, ya know? But at the end of the day, I want real butter in my puff pastry and eggs to fry up… milk – an easy sub. But it’s the cheese, eggs and butter that I struggle with. Ya know? sigh… Love your low and slow approach to granola. It completely amps up the cluster and crunch factor! And the spices in this.. wow! I love this, Rebecca! Thank you my dear! xo

    Reply
  • Emma {Emma's Little Kitchen} 2016/04/11 at 12:36 AM

    I love everything you wrote here, such truth! Best wishes on you’re cookbook, and YUM to this granola :)

    Reply
    • DisplacedHousewife 2016/04/11 at 8:36 PM

      Thank you Emma!!! Love this granola!!! Obviously…I just posted a recipe using it and I have another planned!! xoxo

      Reply
  • amanda paa 2016/04/03 at 12:48 AM

    i love this post so much, your words and sentiment, the connection that i feel like we have….. i live for moderation too, because THIS; “I think about what will taste good, what’s in season, what my guests will enjoy as we sit around our table. Always laughing and talking, a meal drawn out over hours. Candlelight. Beautiful wine. Good music. Lingering at the table hours after the last bite was taken.”
    Yes. That is life. That is sharing the table and experience. That is love.

    I can’t wait to see your cookbook come alive, no matter how long it takes. Don’t rush, just let it come to you.

    xo

    Reply
  • Jessica 2016/03/31 at 11:25 AM

    Yes, yes and more yes. To balance, to granola, to chai-flavored everything. Well done!

    Reply
  • Laura | Tutti Dolci 2016/03/31 at 5:52 AM

    “I want to live in a world that loves sautéed greens as much as salted caramel cupcakes” –> So much yes! I have no doubt your cookbook will be fabulous, as is this granola! I find I have to hide granola from myself so that I don’t snack on it all day long…this would be no exception ;).

    Reply
  • Cathy | whatshouldimakefor.com 2016/03/30 at 4:32 PM

    I have no doubt that your cookbook will be a success if it’s anything like your blog. My favorite cookbooks (and blogs for that matter) have an approachable style and authentic voice. I find I gravitate towards balance just like you mentioned, sometimes quick and easy, other times multi-stepped; some sweet, some savory. And sometimes I’m just as interested in reading the story behind the recipe vs the recipe itself. I think you already found your niche…I’d read a cookbook of your blog posts alone!

    Reply
  • Liza 2016/03/30 at 11:49 AM

    Love your writing style and food leanings. Losing family recipes rings true in my life as well and another reason I blog. Just trying to re-create my grandmothers spaghetti sauce has sent me down many a rabbit hole! Can’t wait to see your cookbooks.

    Reply
    • DisplacedHousewife 2016/03/30 at 2:47 PM

      Thank you Liza!! It’s the best reason to blog, isn’t it? Since I’ve been doing it for a 1 1/2 years now (I believe?!?!) I’ve started revisiting some of the more seasonal ones…like my corned beef or chocolate peppermint bark cookies. Love it. Happy blogging!! xoxo

      Reply
  • MB@Bourbon and Brown Sugar 2016/03/30 at 10:16 AM

    Where to start with this post!? First of all, granola = one of my favorite food groups, and once again you’re recipe looks inspired… I love a spicy granola, and can’t wait to try it. We also always have a big jar in the pantry. Next – love the thoughts on your blog… I’ve been thinking about the direction of mine ever since I came back from the Pinch of Yum conference last week, and we have very similar thought on balance… Though recently, because I’m forever trying to squeeze blogging into the pockets of time left over after my day job, you’d think I only like to bake! Must, must get more organized about my balance! Like you, I cook from my own blog all the time… I love that my favorite recipes are in one place, and are always accessible by my family and friends. I’ve seen my blog as a personal journey first and foremost… only very recently have I thought seriously about growing readership. (Any tips? :) And finally – I would LOVE to read your cookbook! That’s a long-term goal of mine as well… OMG must stop rambling! It would be much handier if we were neighbors and could chat over scone baking! Have a great day Rebecca!

    Reply
    • DisplacedHousewife 2016/03/30 at 2:52 PM

      MB, I know, there’s so much to say on all of this? I could have gone on and on forever. I definitely think my blog leans more towards baking. I honestly get the more social media traction with baking recipes…but my email subscribers love when I do something that is quick and savory. Well, and I tend to love to cook with butter and flour too. ;) …and I suppose like anything else a blog serves multiple purposes… yes, it’s awesome to record your recipes, it’s also an amazing creative outlet (coming up with new ideas, photographing and styling them and then writing…)…it’s a great way to communicate and interact with people of similar interests…I could go on too!!! Yes to scones and neighbors!!! Sending lots of love! xoxo

      Reply
  • Frank 2016/03/30 at 3:54 AM

    Wow this looks great!! I can’t wait to try this.

    Reply
  • Kendall Ann 2016/03/29 at 11:53 PM

    OMG!!! This looks so quick, easy, and delicious! I must try this later in the week.

    Reply
  • Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen 2016/03/29 at 11:44 PM

    This granola sounds delicious Rebecca! The mix of spices sounds perfect. I am a huge granola fan and have never tried to add banana to mine. I will definitely give this recipe a try. Not only do I love the recipe, I love your post today and your thoughts on balance. Love the idea of leaving the rules at the kitchen door and just sharing and enjoying the things we love to eat! Good luck with your cookbook proposal. I have no doubt it will be a winner! I’ll add your grandmother to my prayers .

    Reply
    • DisplacedHousewife 2016/03/29 at 11:52 PM

      Thank you Mary Ann for all of the kind words!!! I do hope you’ll try this recipe…I love what the oat flour and the banana do…I like granola clumps…but I don’t like them to be rock hard…if you know what I mean? Yes, balance. Here’s to a year of balance for all of us! xoxo

      Reply

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