Grab the Granola

granola

Much of my recent baking has included rolled oats.  Never gravitated towards oatmeal for breakfast, never could get used to the texture.  I began to feel that I was eliminating a great healthy ingredient that I somehow knew I could incorporate into other dishes and meals since my all-time favorite thing to bake and eat were oatmeal cookies!

I had a vague idea of what granola was but just recently discovered that it is a combination of ingredients that make up the “dish” called granola.  Here’s the Wikipedia definition:

Granola is a breakfast food and snack food consisting of rolled oats, nuts, honey, and sometimes puffed rice, that is usually baked until crisp. During the baking process the mixture is stirred to maintain a loose, breakfast cereal-type consistency. Dried fruits, such as raisins and dates, and confections such as chocolate are sometimes added.

granola

This is definitely a dish I could recreate it in my own kitchen!  What cemented the idea for me was an article on my editor’s page, Family Entertainment Media, about toasting rolled oats and adding it to yogurt.  Now my editor is an amazing, multi-talented individual but cooking and recipe creating is not something she is passionate about so if she made it and published an article about it, it passed the test for me.  I copied, tried, and enhanced the idea!  Thanks, Judith!

This granola is salty/sweet, has a wonderful crunchy texture and is a healthy, make-at-home, have-control-over, snack!  I also plan to start baking with it as an ingredient in bread or cookies; that will come soon.

Golden rolled oats, being toasted in butter.

Golden rolled oats, being toasted in butter.

Irish butter from "grass-fed" cows! Yay!

Irish butter from “grass-fed” cows! Yay!

Great nuts for great granola from Trader Joe's.

Great nuts for great granola from Trader Joe’s.

Toasted to perfection!

Toasted to perfection!

The recipe.

Granola

Ingredients

1 T butter
3 C rolled oats
¼ C almonds
¼ C sunflower seeds (or pumpkin seeds)
3 T honey
Dash of salt

Process:  in a large, shallow pan, melt the butter; add rolled oats and nuts then toast slowly over low flame care not to scorch.  This process can take about 25-30 minutes to fully cook the oats.  Once browned, add the honey and salt and stir to distribute.  Remove from heat and let cool; store in the refrigerator in an air-tight container.

Home made granola and raisins, now that's yum!

Home made granola and raisins, now that’s yum!

Advertisements

Buttered Rum-Soaked Cake

Buttered Rum-Soaked Cake

Some people are well-known for their rum cakes and I aspire to be well-known for baking everything GOOD!  I had the intention to create a very well made rum cake, a cake that was abundant with buttered rum flavors and that was melt-in-your-mouth moist!

The recipe I chose here I found during one of my routine internet musings.  Surfing the web for tantalizing cake images and recipes is one of my favorite pastimes.  This recipe is from the King Arthur Flour website and it was given very high ratings and reviews.  I paid particular attention to the comments emphasizing the cake’s very moist texture.  I decided that this would be worth my time to try and bake and it did not disappoint!

Buttered Rum-Soaked Cake

Luscious batter calling for the warm oven…

Buttered Rum-Soaked Cake

The ground almonds add another level of texture and flavor.

Buttered Rum-Soaked Cake

Many added natural flavors.

Buttered Rum-Soaked Cake

Cakes before they’re baked!

Buttered Rum-Soaked Cake

Buttered rum syrup, bubbling to flavor perfection!

Buttered Rum-Soaked Cake

Done cakes, prime for the buttered rum glaze!

Everyone who tasted this cake said they loved it!  They made particular mention of its potent flavor and moistness.  Since I have been struggling with over-baking, moist cakes are what I strive for in a recipe.  It is a combination of the ingredients, technique and baking time.  I believe I have the technique and ingredients down to a science but my baking time needs more practice.

Buttered Rum-Soaked Cake

Here’s the “money” shot!

Buttered Rum-Soaked Cake

Holes to allow the buttered rum syrup to get into every crevice!

Buttered Rum-Soaked Cake

And there it is… (Inverted, almond side up.)

Here’s my rendition of this delicious Buttered Rum-Soaked Cake that is quite delish!

Using disposable loaf pans make this cake perfect to bake as gift treats for the upcoming gift-giving season.  And remember, it does contain a substantial amount of rum, so please inform your guests and gift recipients.

Stay happy and eat cake, rum cake!

Buttered Rum-Soaked Cake (adapted from King Arthur Flour, Caribbean Rum Cake)

 

Ingredients                                 Yield = 2, 8 x 4” loaf cakes

Cake
2 C flour
1 ½ C sugar
½ C butter, softened
½ C instant pudding mix
2 t baking powder
1 t salt
½ C canola oil
½ C milk
4 eggs
½ C golden rum
2 t vanilla
¼ t rum extract
¼ C ground almonds

Buttered-Rum Syrup
½ C butter
¼ C water
1 C sugar
½ C golden rum
½ t vanilla

Procedures
Preheat oven to 325 F degrees.

Cake:  prepare two loaf pans by coating with butter, lining with parchment and sprinkling the ground almonds on the bottom; cream the butter and sugar; combine the flour, pudding mix, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl; mix the eggs, oil and milk in a third bowl; add the flour mixture and the egg mixture to the creamed mixture until combined; add vanilla and rum extracts and mix for another minute; pour into the prepared loaf pans; bake at 325 F degrees for about 30-40 minutes; let cool.

Buttered-Rum Syrup:  add all buttered-rum ingredients except the vanilla, to a medium-sized saucepan; bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 5 to 8 minutes, until the syrup thickens slightly; remove from heat and stir in the vanilla; allow to cool.

Use a metal skewer to poke holes in the cooled cakes still in the pans; pour the syrup over the cakes; let syrup seep into the cakes for about 30 minutes before removing from pan; serve and enjoy.

I do plan on re-making this cake as it was moist and full of flavor.  However I plan to alter the recipe and use less sugar in the mix, omit the vanilla pudding mix, and use half of the buttered-rum syrup recipe as to not over-sweeten the cake.

Buttered Rum-Soaked Cake