Once upon a time, there lived a little girl from the suburbs who loved stories (and food – especially food). That little girl was me. Before bedtime, on most nights my dad would tell me a story. As he sat on my twin bed, me and my sister listened closely to the fairy tale or fable of choice. Usually, he told us Goldilocks and the three bears. While he told it over and over again as we were growing up, I never got tired of listening to it. I always giggled hearing him do the best little girl voice he could muster, when he was pretending to be Goldilocks.
That story has stuck with me over the years and today I felt like I was playing Goldilocks in my own kitchen. It all started off so innocently.
This morning, I didn’t want just any old box cereal for breakfast. I longed for crunchy banana-walnut granola. After arriving home from my 8 am eye doctor appointment, I set out for the ripe bananas in the kitchen. Then the fun began. After putting my banana slices in the oven, I started to mix the granola. As usual, it tasted delicious right from the bowl, even before even being baked. I could hardly contain my excitement and I soon rushed the banana chips out of the oven to put in the granola into the 400 degree oven.
Like a good little cook, I set the timer for 12 minutes. Then, I walked into the living room and saw my poodles modeling on the couch. I got distracted from my granola endeavor and immediately began taking pictures of the poodles. They looked so cute, the opportunity was hard to resist.
The poodles looking adorable. Max is the apricot-colored dog and Layla is the chocolate poodle.
A few minutes later, in a fit of panic, I ran into the other room and remembered the granola was still cooking. I saw that the timer still had three minutes and breathed a sigh of relief. I opened the oven to peek and the feeling of relief began to melt away. The oats and nuts on the edges of the pan were quickly turning a dark brown. A burnt smell filled the room as I threw open the oven door and hurled the baking sheet onto a pot holder covered table.
I looked at the contents of the pan sitting in front of me. I scraped off the darker granola from the sides and quickly discarded it. I tasted some from the center and deemed it good enough to eat.
Now this is when Goldilocks walks casually into the story. The granola wasn’t “just right.” I wanted to have a baby bear moment, when the crisp cereal tasted as I envisioned it. Instead, it was a tad over done. Last time, my granola was a little underdone. Will it ever be “just right?”
Next time, I will lower the heat and monitor it consistently to get it to that baby bear standard of being “just right.” For now, my slightly overdone granola will do. Don’t get me wrong, it was still good and the bites filled with apricot were delightful, but it wasn’t the baby bear granola I envisioned.
I guess in a way wanting something just right is a feeling everyone can relate to. Sometimes it takes a while to find that just-right fit. I certainly am still working on that goal career-wise and now I have an ambition to make perfectly-toasted granola. Someday I’ll get there. Hopefully I’ll achieve my granola goal sooner rather than later. Until then, read on for the recipe for banana-walnut granola.
Banana Walnut Granola:
*Yields about 3 cups of granola (with the banana chips mixed in) /Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
Banana Crisp Ingredients:
*Adapted from the lovely blog Something We Whipped Up (these crisps also make a great snack on their own, as this blogger found)
2 bananas, peeled and sliced
1 tsp of coconut oil, melted
1 tsp of agave nectar or maple syrup
1 tsp of coconut sugar or brown sugar (or just add another teaspoon of maple syrup instead)
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
Apricot-Walnut Granola Ingredients:
1 1/4 cup of rolled oats (I used GF rolled oats)
1/4 cup of dried, unsweetened coconut flakes
1/4 cup of apricots, chopped
1/2 cup of walnuts, chopped
1 tsp of cinnemon
1 tbsp virgin coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup of pure maple syrup
1 tsp of vanilla extract
My very crunchy granola.
1- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. While the oven is heating, put a cooling rack inside of a baking pan. Then slice the bananas and mix all of the banana crisp ingredients together. When the bananas are well-coated, place a single layer of the slices on the cooling rack (look a few pictures above). Pop the pan into the oven and bake for about 30-35 minutes or until they begin to brown and crisp up.
1- In the meantime, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Then add your rolled oats, coconut, chopped walnuts, apricots, and cinnamon to a mixing bowl. Mix the dry ingredients together.
2- Melt the virgin coconut oil either in a small pan or in the microwave. Add the Coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla into a glass measuring cup. Stir once before pouring over the rolled oat mixture. Mix the oats with the wet ingredients, making sure all of the oats are coated.
3- Spread a thin layer of granola onto the parchment paper. When the banana crisps are done take them out and let them cool. Meanwhile bake the granola for 5 to 7 minutes at 400 degrees OR lower the heat to 325 degrees and bake for about 12 minutes, or until the granola begins to brown. Let the granola cool before using it (it will become crisper as it cools, it will still be slightly soft when it comes out of the oven – unless you over cook it like me!). Then toss in the banana chips and serve with your favorite nut milk and ground flax seeds!
I hope your version comes out more Goldilocks-approved than mine. Are there any recipes you’re still trying to get “just-right?”