Writing feels challenging right now. There’s so much to say, and yet this space feels too vast to say it in, like the words will just float away and disappear, leaving me empty. I also know though that if held too close, words can have a way of imprinting themselves on me. Everything feels uprooted—much of it good (trust), but too much uprooting and a girl can start to lose her balance. So I try to write to ground myself. The words on this page come out sputtering like a lump in my throat. Thoughts whirl through my head: I can’t say that, it’s not the time, I don’t even know where to begin… And there I am walking the balance beam, all the while being thrown balls of fire and rings to catch, arms reaching out, trying to hold my core strong so I don’t fall. The fire is hot, the rings slippery, and some days putting one foot in front of the other can be difficult when you don’t know where it’s going to lead you. I’m trying to trust the process.
I turn to baking to ground myself. It’s an act that brings me into my body. I buy fresh Ontario peaches and contemplate a pie. I chop pistachios for biscotti. I whirl white beans in the food processor with maple syrup and almond butter for a healthified blondie of sorts. I nest further into myself seeking answers through the rhythmic mixing of dough, the precise measuring of ingredients, and the organic creation of something beautiful. Baking is like a miracle to me. I see ingredients turn from individual pieces into a beautiful whole. “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts”, I hear Dr. Facca’s voice repeating in first-year chemistry class. It is. It always is
This granola was born out of a need to create something beautiful and concrete—to smell the sweetness as it permeated into my clothes, to feel the heat of the oven warm my kitchen, to watch the oats brown and transform, and to taste their crispy edges. I put coffee in the mix because coffee, ironically, reminds me to slow down and ease into the morning. It was an experiment, made with love, but it turned out so wonderfully that I had to share it with you. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
There is so much colour in the world right now with vivid summer produce just begging to be eaten. I’ll be back with more of that soon, I promise. But in the meantime, I insist that you make this granola. It’s really good, perhaps even the best I’ve ever made. This statement, in and of itself, serves a good reminder that some of the best of things often come out of chaos and uncertainty. In fact, they almost always do. My friend recently said to me, “maybe you’re disconnecting from everything so that you can be free for something wonderful.” Well wonder, I await you.
In the meantime, I’m going to a cottage with some friends next week for some much needed disconnection/ reconnection time involving being near the water, sleeping in, and indulging in books, a bit of yoga (practicing my headstand!), and some quiet contemplation. I’ll be packing up a jar of this to share with my people, to enjoy over a leisurely breakfast or to nibble on in the afternoon. I hope you’ll do the same.
- 1.5 cups oats (gluten free, if preferred)
- ½ cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped
- ½ cup flaked coconut
- ½ tsp ground cardamom
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tsp instant espresso powder
- Preheat oven to 300°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Mix the oats, hazelnuts, flaked coconut, cardamom, cinnamon, and salt together in a large bowl.
- Meanwhile warm the coconut oil, maple syrup, and espresso powder in a small saucepan over low heat. Whisk until it comes together.
- Mix the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients and stir together until evenly coated.
- Spread the mixture over the parchment lined pan and even it out as best you can.
- Place on the centre rack in the oven and bake, stirring every 15 minutes, for approximately 45 minutes, or until the granola is lightly crunchy and slightly browned.