I adore Bear Naked granola. Crunchy, flavorful, and chock full of fiber. Did your insides ever just feel good after eating something? I think it’s purely psychological. I met the founder of Bear Naked once – a tall blond, athletic, godess-like granola chick (who also happened to be quite personable, actually). Somewhere deep down I think I fooled myself into believing that if I eat enough of her granola I’ll grow six inches, sprout blond locks, and exchange cellulite for muscle.
Eating Bear Naked does satisfy one of my goals for the new year; eating healthy, whole foods that make me feel good. But it contradicts the other, which is to spend less money Especially on groceries. I can go a year without buying new lipstick or shoes, but I most certainly make up for it with extravagant food purchases. So lately, I’ve given up buying granola and started making my own. It’s not quite Bear Naked – and it never will be since I happen to know that they have special oats grown just for their granola – but it’s pretty darn good. I wrote about the ease of granola-making for my column in this month’s Dedham Transcript. The best thing about making your own granola is really the ability to customize. You can add anything or exchange anything and it still works. I published a basic cranberry walnut granola recipe in the newspaper (follow the link above to check it out), but if you’re a bit more adventurous, play around, go nuts, or feel free to try this Moroccan inspired version.
Sesame Cardamom Granola
2 cups rolled oats
¼ cup wheat bran
1/8 cup bulgur
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
¾ teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons canola oil
¼ cup shelled pistachios, unsalted
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
¼ cup chopped dried Medjool dates
1 tablespoon orange zest
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl mix together the oats, wheat bran, bulgur, brown sugar, ½ teaspoon salt, and spices. Put the honey in a microwave safe bowl and heat on high for 20 seconds until warmed and fluid. Add the honey to the oat mixture and stir well to combine. Add the oil and stir again. Coarsely chop the nuts and stir in to the oat mixture along with the sesame seeds. Spread the granola out on a greased baking sheet. Bake 20-25 minutes until slightly browned. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with remaining salt, and let cool (granola will crisp as it cools). Break up the granola and stir in the dates and orange zest.