I’m just a teensy bit obsessed with granola.
I’m also a teensy bit obsessed with watching my baby girl groove her little bod like a Jello mold whenever she hears anything with a beat, be it Jingle Bells or Ke$ha.
Luckily, I have the ability to video these little episodes of pure joy AND I have the ability to make my new favorite granola from the Plaid Apron at home. Yay!
The Plaid Apron is a lovely little farm-to-table cafe in Knoxville that makes some of the tastiest food ever. It’s beautiful, it’s local, it’s creative, but most importantly, it’s just simply delicious.
Usually I stick to their omelets for breakfast because they’re just so perfect (braised kale + cheddar + bacon… hellooooo!), but I do have a weak spot for breakfast sundaes, and seeing as the BH and I were there to draft our wills over breakfast one morning, I decided on the breakfast sundae. Maybe I thought eating a ‘sundae’ would make talking about our unlikely tandem demise slightly less unpleasant? Um, no. But… I did secure their granola recipe! Now thanks to the very nice and extremely talented owners, Bonnie and Drew, I can make it at home.
While I love traditional granola, what attracts me to this version is that it’s not traditional at all. It’s kind of a mix between granola and cereal because it has bran flakes in it. I know, I know- bran flakes are second only to prunes the world’s least sexy food, but it just works. The molasses-brown sugar mixture doesn’t even come close to coating each flake, which is kind of refreshing since eating some granolas is like eating a bowl full of sugar. If I’m going to eat a bowl full of sugar, it will be in the form of chocolate buttercream in front of trashy TV at the end of my day, not in the form of granola in front of the news at the beginning of my day.
When I talked to Drew about making his granola at home, he suggested eating it with a little buttermilk.
Now hear this.
I like buttermilk for baking. I like it for pancakes. I like it for tenderizing chicken. But southerners like it for straight-up drinkin’ and I just can’t get behind that. I think he saw me shudder when he said it, and he said ‘no, really, try it.’
I didn’t want to be a spoil sport. I mean, the man came up with this granola recipe, so he’s probably not crazy. So… I tried it.
Not bad. I can’t even lie- I haven’t eaten it any other way since. Not that I like buttermilk any more than I did before, but it’s kind of a nice way to eat it- the consistency of milk, the flavor of yogurt. So while I’m not going to install a car horn that sounds like ‘Dixie,’ I give southerners a point for this one.
Now the Plaid Apron Granola is my go-to granola. Unfortunately, it’s also the Booze Hound’s go-to granola, so I make a batch, like, every week. But it’s really, really easy. And really, REALLY good!
If you haven’t been to The Plaid Apron yet, you totally must. Try the granola, try the pizza, try the FISH (oh my gosh, do they do a bang-up job on fish!), try ANYTHING they make with braised kale, try the coffee (locally roasted!) and say hi to Bonnie and Drew!
- 2 c old fashioned oats
- 2 c coarsely chopped nuts (my fav is almonds + pecans, walnuts are great, too)
- ½ box bran flakes (I used the regular size of the store brand)
- 1 c brown sugar
- ⅓ c molasses
- ¼ c canola oil (coconut oil is also awesome!)
- Kosher salt
- 1 c dried fruit (cherries and blueberries are always my choice)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Spread oats and nuts on a large rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven for 10 minutes. Pour into a large bowl, and add the bran flakes. Stir to combine.
- While the oats and nuts are toasting, combine the brown sugar, molasses, canola or coconut oil and pinch of salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Once the mixture 'comes together,' immediately pour it over the bran flake mixture and stir to combine. This will take a decent amount of stirring to evenly distribute the sugar mixture, but it's worth it!
- Spread the mixture out on the large rimmed baking sheet again, and bake for about 5-7 minutes. Let the granola cool for about 20 minutes, then crumble with your hands and add dried fruit (I add the fruit to my cereal storage container and shake the whole mess to combine). Serve with milk, yogurt, or buttermilk.