It wasn’t a baguette I wanted, when the dentist finally gave me carte blanche to eat anything at all. I needed something more violent, something with so much crunch it prevented me from hearing the person next to me speak. It came in the form of a hazelnut granola.
When I settled on what to stir into the oats – hazelnuts (hardly chopped), fat strips of chewy unsweetened coconut, and sticky black currants – it sounded like quite a mouthful.
But I wanted the kind of granola that needs to be shoveled in on overloaded spoonfuls, the kind whose deep, sweet flavors force a person to inadvertently take bites so big that a little piece, maybe a cluster of ginger-scented oats or a whole toasted hazelnut, pops right out and splashes back into the bowl. I needed a breakfast that dropped flavors into every crevice in my mouth (especially the ones that used to be off-limits).
So yes, hazelnut-coconut-blackcurrant granola is a bit of a mouthful. But my mouth was ready.
Hazelnut-Coconut-Blackcurrant Granola (PDF)
If you can find it, unsweetened large flake coconut is the best type for this recipe. I use the kind made by Bob’s Red Mill, which comes in fat shavings about an inch long.
For extra nutty flavor, use a nut oil instead of plain old canola.
TIME: 20 minutes active time
MAKES: about 15 cups granola
3 cups hazelnuts
1 cup honey
1/2 cup (packed) brown sugar
1 18-ounce container (6 1/2 cups) old-fashioned oats
2 cups unsweetened large flake coconut
1 cup dried blackcurrants (about 6 ounces)
1/3 cup flaxseed meal
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup canola or nut oil (such as walnut, hazelnut, or pecan oil)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place the hazelnuts on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and bake for about 10 minutes, until the nuts’ skins crack and begin to lift off the nuts themselves. Let cool for 10 minutes, or until the skins stop crackling and whispering. (You’ll hear them.) Transfer the nuts to a clean tea towel a handful at a time, and rub between layers of the towel to remove as much of the loose skins as possible. When all the nuts are rubbed mostly clean (no need to be too strict, ya hear?), give them a rough chop and transfer them to a large mixing bowl.
Combine the honey and brown sugar in a small saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved completely. Set aside.
Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl with the hazelnuts, and stir until very well blended. Drizzle the honey and sugar mixture on top, and stir again until the sweeteners coat all ingredients.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon baking mats. Divide the granola between the two sheets, spreading it into an even layer on each sheet, and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, stirring the granola and rotating sheets top to bottom and back to front a few times during baking. The granola is done when it’s uniformly deep golden brown.
Let the granola cool to room temperature on the baking sheets, undisturbed. Break apart and store in an airtight container.