Henrietta's Table Granola

Have you ever been to Henrietta's Table (Cambridge, Mass.) for breakfast? If not, you MUST go. Everything is delicious, well prepared, and fresh.

There's a brunch on Sundays that starts at noon, but I prefer to go for breakfast. Breakfast is much more affordable and lets you get your day started sooner (leaving more time for running errands, etc., while still allowing for a leisurely morning meal). So get up early, and get down there!

Breakfast is served from 7:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. on Saturdays and 7:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. on Sundays.

I've had the Buttermilk Hotcakes, Cinnamon Cranberry French Toast, Cream Chipped Beef on Buttermilk Biscuits (good but a little heavy), and Poached Eggs and Baked Harrington Ham on Anadama Bread with Hollandaise Sauce and Fresh Asparagus (and I really need to go back to try the Red Flannel Hash) -- but my favorite thing is the Homemade Granola Parfait with Berries, Apples, Yogurt and Honey.

I know -- it sounds so plain, but that granola is the most amazing granola I have ever had, and it compelled me to buy Fresh & Honest: Food From the Farms of New England and the Kitchen of Henrietta's Table, a cookbook written by Chef Peter Davis of Henrietta's Table.

I ordered the granola parfait one morning with a cranberry walnut muffin on the side. I savored every bite of that parfait, topped with a glistening honeycomb, and only made it through half of the muffin, which was also very good -- not to mention huge! (And I'm not sure, but I think the parfaits might be made to order because mine was neither soggy nor watery -- believe me, I've had some bad ones.)

So, after that amazing breakfast, once I found out the granola recipe was in Davis' new cookbook, I went right out and bought it. I wasn't even thinking about how the famous pot roast, red flannel hash, or cinnamon cranberry french toast recipes would be in there too. I focused on granola and granola only (but I am delighted that there are a ton of other recipes in there I can't wait to try as well!)

You'll have to get the book yourself for the recipe, but I can tell you it is well worth it. The granola is packed with all sorts of stuff you'd never know is in there. I figured it was brown sugar and oats and not much more. But there's bran, wheat germ, pumpkin seeds, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, molasses, and so much more!

The yield is three quarts, so I decided to just make one-third. The recipe is very simple -- almost a little too simple. Had I the opportunity to copyedit this cookbook, I would have questioned whether the hazelnuts should be whole or chopped, instead of just listing hazelnuts. But because I couldn't remember any whole hazelnuts in the granola when I had it at the restaurant, I decided to chop mine.

It also assumes some knowledge on the part of the cook, and you'll want to be prepared for that. The recipe calls for clarified butter, so make sure you know how to make it and have it ready to use with the rest of your ingredients. It's actually very easy. Just melt more butter than the recipe calls for over medium heat. You'll see a foam form on the top. Scoop or strain this off, and then pour the butter off through a strainer into a bowl or measuring cup, and use that in the recipe.

Clarifying the butter is the hardest part -- and it's not even that hard. Other than that, you just mix everything together.

Then you spread it on a pan or two and bake it in the oven, stirring it around from time to time.

The sweet and nutty granola was perfect with some yogurt drizzled with honey and fresh berries. I used strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries. And if only honeycombs weren't $10.99 at Whole Foods, I would have bought some to top my parfaits with. It would have come pretty close to what is served at Henrietta's Table.

I made this the other night and when my boyfriend got home from his softball game, he immediately started sniffing around the kitchen to see what delicious baked good I had made. He was disappointed to learn it was "only granola." The cinnamon smell lingering in the house had led him on. He claims he doesn't like granola -- I don't know how that can be possible as not all granolas are the same. But I'm sure if I hadn't used the g-word and had sprinkled the granola mixture over apples to make an apple crumble, he would have eaten it. It's that good. Keep this in mind if you have any granola dissenters around.

And a side note: There was a recent article in Slate about whether to buy certain foods or make them from scratch at home, based on which is more economical. Granola came out as one that could be more economical to purchase depending on the brand, but with a recipe as perfect as this, who cares? If it costs a little extra to make it from scratch, it is well worth it!

Do you make your own granola or purchase it? What's your favorite recipe or store-bought brand? And how do you like to eat granola -- plain, with yogurt...?