Great granola is a timeless staple.
Always humble, all it takes are some oats and creativity to make a treat that suits all cravings, needs, and constraints. When you hit upon a formula for thick, resoundingly crunchy clusters, gently kissed with sweetness, you won’t soon forget it. That’s why I still think of the granola by Belinda Leong from b. patisserie. Though not naturally vegan, I recall she created a special, secondary version to accommodate while working an event in San Francisco, so many years ago.
Was I the photographer? Prep cook? Stylist? Was this an awards ceremony? A press event? A cooking demo? I honestly can’t recall. The actual event has become lost in the morass of memories that blur and blend in my mind. What’s important is that I know this was the only vegan option there, so naturally, it captured my attention.
Exhibiting remarkable balance for such a simple breakfast treat, it’s the attention to detail that amplifies flavors and textures beyond their simple beginnings. Remarkably light, airy, shatteringly crisp, the texture is really what makes it so special. It’s otherwise a simple affair, accentuated by toasted sliced almonds, making it buttery like a delicate almond croissant. Notes of toffee, caramel, and malt intertwine, crafting a taste sensation that could just as well top an elegant parfait or sundae. Granola isn’t just for breakfast anymore.
Make It Your Own
Adapted from the recipe found on Food & Wine, this essential formula is ripe for experimentation.
Consider adding any of the following, to taste:
- Dried fruits, like raisins, chopped dates, cherries, blueberries, or chopped apricots
- Seeds, like pepitas, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, or chia seeds
- Spices, like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, black pepper, allspice, or cloves
- Chocolate chips or chunks
- Coconut flakes or shreds
Some easy ideas for substitutions include:
- Instead of almonds, swap out part or all for pistachios, cashews, pecans, or walnuts
- Instead of brown sugar, use date sugar or coconut sugar
- Instead of vegan butter, use coconut oil
- Instead of maple syrup, use agave nectar or vegan honey
If this granola looks incredibly simple, even basic, you’re not wrong. As a celebration of quality ingredients and the skill it takes to bring the best out of each, that’s part of the appeal.