When I came home from the Boston Brunchers' Birthday Brunch a few weekends ago, I found a copy of Salty Sweets from Harvard Common Press in my goodie bag. I quickly flipped through it, and I thought it was a nice book with gorgeous pictures. None of the recipes really jumped out at me as being new or different though. It wasn't until I actually read through the book more carefully that I realized that the recipes use different types of salt (and salt is actually carefully considered), and that's what makes them unique.
Author Christie Matheson writes:
A few years ago I realized that the most satisfying and rewarding sweets are the ones that have something going on other than straight-up sweetness. Sweet is sweet, but it can be kind of one-dimensional. But when you add a salty element to said sweet--even if the result is not an overly salty flavor--the treat in question gets seriously amped up.As one who loves salt, I can definitely see that. I looked through the recipes again, cognizant of the use of salt, and this time a recipe for granola with dried cherries and cacao nibs caught my eye. I thought about how mouthwatering the combination of tart cherries; intense, roasted cacao nibs; sweet, toasty oats; and salt would be, and I headed into the kitchen.
The recipe calls for fine sea salt, but I only had coarse sea salt, kosher salt, Hawaiian pink sea salt, and fleur de sel on hand. Since Matheson encourages experimenting with a variety of salts, I read through her salt descriptions and decided to sub in the fleur de sel.
I also had both cacao nibs and chocolate-covered cacao nibs in the house and thought the granola would be a little more decadent if I swapped in the chocolate-covered nibs.
Chocolate-Covered Cacao Nib And Dried Cherry Granola (adapted from Salty Sweets)
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups old-fashioned oats
1 teaspoon fleur de sel
1 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup chocolate-covered cacao nibs
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine the honey, maple syrup, brown sugar, butter, and vanilla in a medium-size saucepan.
Bring to a boil over medium heat, and then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring often.
Mix the oats and salt in a large bowl.
Pour the hot honey mixture over the oat mixture, stir to coat, and spread evenly on prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, and then stir in the cherries and bake for another 15 to 17 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown.
Remove granola from oven and let cool completely.
Transfer granola to a container that has a lid, and stir in cacao nibs.
Granola can be stored in airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.
I've been starting my mornings with a piece of quinoa toast topped with avocado slices and a cup of coffee. Then I bring a small container of this granola to work with me and munch on it for my mid-morning snack. It's nice and filling and holds me over until the tastings start at work.
And speaking of coffee... I'm doing a coffee giveaway!
One of you can win a one-pound bag of Farmhouse Blend, a reusable travel mug, and coupons for two free hot or iced coffees from Cumberland Farms.
I know what you might be thinking, coffee from a convenience store?
Farmhouse Blend has just the right blend of 100% Arabica beans, giving it a wonderful blend of aroma, body, and flavor. And it’s just $0.99 for any size, iced or hot, at any time, so quality coffee doesn't have to be a “splurge.”
And for those who don't win but still want to try Farmhouse Blend, Cumberland Farms is hosting Free Coffee Fridays on November 11, 18, and 25 at all Cumberland Farms locations, while supplies last.
Cumberland Farms has been a family-owned and operated New England business since 1939.
To enter to win, please leave a comment about your morning coffee and eating habits.
For a second entry, follow @cumberlandfarms and tweet "I want to win Farmhouse Blend from @deliciousdish and @cumberlandfarms" and leave a separate comment letting me know you tweeted.
You have until Sunday, November 6, 2011, at 11:59 pm EST to enter. Good luck!