granola cake; a tuesdays with dorie post

img_7316Back in September, I learned we were relocating again.  After a few bumps in the road, we have landed back in Nashville and are settling into our new home.  During the move, one of the things I missed the most was being able to bake in my own kitchen and now that I have a kitchen again, I am also baking again!

First up; granola cake.  Actually, this recipe comes from Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan and not only is it the first cake I have baked in a while, it is the first time I have been able to join the Tuesdays with Dorie bakers since we started packing up for the move.  Since we are back in Nashville, we are active with the Master Gardener program and this cake was a great choice for the potluck dinner we have each month.  Having cut the cake into thin slices, I placed the cake on the dessert table and didn’t have any trouble convincing folks to try it!

img_7318The recipe calls for bittersweet chocolate, shredded coconut and granola which all combine to make the flavor similar to an oatmeal cookie with coconut and chocolate chips.  The only thing you need to know, use a good quality granola because it is a large part of the flavor and texture of the cake.  With this in mind, I made a small batch of my own granola rather than buy it.

While I am not posting the recipe for the cake, we do not post the recipes from the book out of respect for the author, I am posting the recipe for the granola that I used in the cake.  This recipe is the one that I made for years when I was working at the Loveless Cafe and I suggest you mix up a batch-it’s that good!


This small recipe makes about 2 cups of granola and can easily be doubled or tripled, just store it airtight and use it within a month.  My preference is to use a combination of wildflower honey and sorghum but you can use just one for the total amount.  If you can’t find sorghum, molasses will work but will give it a little more color.

3/4 oz light brown sugar

1-3/4 oz pecan pieces

5 oz whole rolled oats

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon sorghum

Preheat the oven to 350. Line a baking pan with parchment paper. In a heat proof bowl, stir together the brown sugar, oats, nuts and cinnamon, set aside.  In a small pan, combine the butter, honey and sorghum and over low heat, stir until the butter melts and the mixture is heated but not boiling.  Pour the melted butter mixture over the oats and stir until it is combined.  Dump the mixture onto the prepared pan and spread it out evenly.  Bake for about 10 minutes, stir it well and continue baking for another 10 minutes or so.  The time depends on how thin the layer is in the pan.  Keep a close eye on the granola and stir it frequently until it turns a nice deep amber color.  When the granola is the color you want, remove it from the oven and let it sit for 5 minutes.  Using your hands-it will still be hot and it needs to be pretty warm for this to work, break up the granola so that it will be free flowing when it cools off.  Gently rub the clumps between your fingers to separate the large lumps-they will be pretty hard once cooled so do not be tempted to leave them in tact.  Allow it to cool completely and store it airtight.

img_7326Want to bake along with us?  Pick up a copy of the book, visit the website and get to work!

granola energy bars; a tuesdays with dorie post


For what seems like forever, I have wanted to make my own granola bars.  When I had to pack lunches for the girls, I would buy them and occasionally, eat some myself, but a single glance at the ingredient list alway left me cringing.  Over the years, I have experimented with granola bars but most of the results just did not give me the chewy but soft texture I was hoping for.  My collection of recipes to try has grown quite a bit and when the Tuesdays with Dorie bakers chose to make the recipe for Granola Energy Bars in Baking Chez Moi, I happily baked along.

The recipe is fairly simple and does not have any tricky steps.  Toast, boil, mix and bake.  Simple ingredients, easy process, what more could a baker want?  The added perk, flexibility as far as what you put in the bars.  The only must, rice syrup something that most supermarkets with a natural food section carry these days.  My thought was to try different combinations of fruits and nuts to make a variety of bars to snack on.  The only thing I did not do was use rolled oats.  Trader Joe’s sells a whole grain hot cereal blend that is made of rolled oats, wheat, barley and rye. There is almost always a carton on the shelf in my pantry and I decided to use the blend rather than just oats.  Working with half the recipe amounts for each batch, I made one batch with dates, cocoa nibs, and walnuts, one batch with Trader Joes Berry Blend (dried cranberries, cherries, golden raisins and blueberries) with almonds and a third batch with mission figs and almonds.  For all of them, I included sweetened coconut and pumpkin seeds, substituted coconut oil for the butter and eliminated the sunflower seeds and the vanilla extract.  

The mixture was easy to prepare and the three pans came together quickly.  My only wish, that somewhere in the directions it stated how thick they should be in the pan.  The dimensions of the pan is slightly uncommon and with my half batches, I was winging it and hoping that my 6″x 6″ were a good choice.  Since I have had such a problem with the oven temperatures in other recipes, I set the oven to 300F and it took a long time for them to bake, nearly double the time to get them a nice toasty color on top.  This may also have to do with the fact that I did not pretoast my rolled grains; I was hoping to keep them softer.

So what were my results?  Really chewy and almost hard bars that despite the different combinations of fruit, all tasted the same.  Because I did not want them to taste like vanilla, I left out the extract but now I wonder about whether I should have added something like cinnamon because they had an oily taste that must have come from greasing the pans.  In the end, I was a little disappointed with my results but will probably try them again with a full batch of the recipe and a little cinnamon or maybe some pumpkin seed oil and possibly a tiny bit of extract.  As for my husband, he couldn’t eat them fast enough and in a couple of days, had devoured at least half of the bars!

To see what the rest of the bakers came up with, visit the Tuesdays with Dorie website and look for the “leave your links” post.