I am the kind of person who will invite you to go out to breakfast, or oblige your invitation to go out to breakfast, and then I will order the equivalent of coffee, cereal, and fruit. We will talk about pancakes (and I will make a very convincing case for the buttermilk ones at Victor’s 1959), but then, when it finally comes time for them, I just want what I always have…which is coffee, cereal, and fruit.
Perhaps I’m a creature of habit. Perhaps all those times I ordered a different drink for every transaction at my favorite coffee shop were a farce. I’d stand in line-thinking of all the regulars at my own coffee shop who, day in and day out, want it with three and a half raw sugars, or with a separate decaf shot pulled on the other machine, or mostly 2% with just a splash of 1%-and I would applaud myself for ordering something different than the day before. But I’m going to let you in on a little secret: it’s my second cup of coffee (or tea) that differs. That first one, my morning ritual, is always, always consumed immediately upon waking up, in my pajamas, on the couch, with a book in hand. And it is the same (see also: amazing, the best, personally honed after years of iced coffee preparation) every day. So when we go out for breakfast and I order cereal and fruit and you stare at me, please bear in mind that I just can’t not do certain things.
The good news is, the cereal fluctuates. Often, it’s some type of granola that I have concocted with the weird mixture of spices I have collected over time. My most recent batch (i.e., this one) was my attempt at a simpler recipe–just oats, sweetness, a hint of spice, and some add-ins. Of course, I used two different kinds of cinnamons, because I am the kind of person who can tell you that only spicy, citrusy Ceylon cinnamon is real, and that the other stuff we’ve always eaten is actually a cousin who has been laboring under the guise of its relative’s name for all our lives. And then, for good measure, I pinched the teensiest amount of star anise into the mixture. We can blame the separate toasting of the almonds and coconut on my neuroses, because I wanted them to be perfect, and not overdone. Thank goodness I chose the infinitely easy option of dumping in some pepitas and dried cranberries for delicious measure.
Perhaps I can’t stop with my morning routine because it is just so tasty. Maybe that’s the problem. Only it doesn’t feel like a problem at all.
One Year: White Chocolate, Fresh Cranberry, and Cream Cheese Scones.
Two years ago: Marbled Banana Walnut Loaf.
The Best Granola
Makes about 3 cups
3 tbsp coconut oil, heated slightly (so it’s melted)
3 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp vietnamese cinnamon
1/2 tsp ceylon cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt pinch of ground star anise
2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup coconut shavings (not flakes)
2 tbsp sliced almonds
2 tbsp pepitas
1/4 cup dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and line with parchment paper. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine coconut oil, maple syrup, both cinnamons, ginger, salt, and star anise. Stir in oats, ensuring that they are evenly coated. Transfer to baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, redistributing oats halfway through to ensure even toasting. Meanwhile, toast coconut shavings and sliced almonds in a large saucepan on low heat until lightly browned and aromatic. Let oats cool completely on baking sheet. Stir in toasted coconut and almonds, pepitas, and cranberries. Serve. Store in airtight container for up to two weeks.