Sunday, July 15, 2012

Feeling Chocolately

On Monday morning, I woke up wanting to bake a chocolate cake. This chocolate cake to be specific. This chocolate cake that involves stout, maple syrup and cocoa powder. Did I have those things in my pantry? Yup (minus the stout, but there was a lonely dark ale sitting beside the almond milk...) Did I make that cake? Nope.

Ridiculous! Why can't I bake a chocolate cake on Monday, just because? It must be some inherent start-of-the-work-week thing where you feel like you have to do some work to earn the chocolate. Like, you know the episode of Bing Bang Theory where Penny makes French toast for Leonard and Sheldon but Sheldon is too uptight to eat French toast on a Monday?  Yeah, I totally felt like Sheldon -- except I didn't waste perfectly good French toast (or chocolate for that matter!).

Instead, I made granola. Wholesome, healthy, grain-packed Monday-food granola. And I make it chocolatey! I added a nice rounded tablespoon of dark cocoa powder to my oats and spelt and sunflower seeds and a dash of cinnamon to remind me of spicy hot chocolate. The liquid base is a combination of honey, tahini and apple sauce -- oil and guilt free. I tossed a good handful of raisins at the end and snacked on it while it was still warm. The house smelled like a chocolate factory while this was baking and it totally took away my chocolate-cake-baking itch. It was also perfect later that Monday with a splash of almond milk, a few sliced bananas and a sprinkle of blueberries. Beautiful summer Monday food.

Well, it's the weekend now, and a perfect time for chocolate cake, except that I didn't get around to doing any baking or cooking this weekend and ya know what? Tomorrow is Monday and the perfect excuse to make this granola again! This time, I think I'll try adding some coconut flakes, or flaked almonds and cranberries instead of raisins -- although dried cherries would make it a really special treat... and almond butter instead of tahini. Or maybe I'll use this recipe that calls for mashed bananas instead of apple sauce. Chocolate and banana .. Mondays rock!

Chocolatey Tahini Granola
makes about 4ish cups

2 cups of spelt flakes
1 cup of rolled oats
1/2 cup of sunflowerseeds (or almonds and coconut!)
2 tablespoons of black sesame seeds
1 tablespoon of dark cocoa powder
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
3/4 cup of apple sauce (I made my by cooking two little apples in a splash of water and blending it)
2 tablespoons of tahini
1 tablespoon of honey
1 cup of raisins (or dried cranberries or dried cherries)

1. In a large bowl, toss together spelt flakes, oats, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, cocoa powder and cinnamon until everything is evenly distributed.

2. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the applesauce, tahini and honey. Don't worry if it looks gross -- it'll get better!

3. Add the applesauce mixture to the oat mixture and carefully stir until everything is moistened. Spread the mixture out on a baking sheet making sure it's as even as possible.

4. Bake in a 350 degree oven, turning every 10 minutes for about 30 minutes or until the mixture dries out and gets crisp. You house will smell like heaven. Toss in the raisins as soon as it comes out of the oven. Cool and store in an airtight container. Enjoy!  Happy Monday!

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