The weather in New York has been strange this week. A few days ago it was so hot and humid that walking outside felt like having a dryer vent as a permanent escort. Then yesterday the temperatures suddenly dropped and it got cold enough that I needed a sweatshirt to walk outside in the middle of the day. And today we woke up to a dark and cloudy morning, as if it was the middle of November.
This suddenly cooler and fall-like weather has given me back-to-school anxiety. With only a month left before the end of the summer, it seems like it’s going by too fast. Every summer I go through this, until September comes and I realize that just because it’s no longer officially summer, it doesn’t mean it’s winter. In fact, we can have summer-like weather (or even better, beautiful indian summers) all through the end of October.
So, if you are like me and are already dreading the end of summer, take a deep breath and relax. Reward yourself by making (and eating) this chocolate orange granola. Have it for breakfast with milk or as an afternoon snack. Or eat it for dessert if you want. The summer is the time to bend the rules a little bit.
This is based on a recipe that appeared in the New York Times, called “My Favorite Granola.” Unlike the olive oil and maple granola recipe I posted a little while ago, this produces a sticky, chunky granola that comes out in sweet clusters. The original recipe combined orange and vanilla flavors but I found that too cloying and too reminiscent of a panforte. So, I changed it a bit, toned down the orange and added chocolate.
Chocolate Orange Granola – Adapted from the New York Times
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
2 cups cornflakes
1 cup steel-cut oats
1 cup sliced almonds
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup canola oil
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup of bittersweet or semi-sweet mini chocolate chips (or your favorite dark chocolate chopped into small pieces)
1. Heat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, combine rolled oats, cornflakes, steel-cut oats, almonds, salt and cinnamon. Mix until well combined.
2. In a small saucepan, combine honey, maple syrup, canola oil, and orange zest. Place over medium heat and boil for 1 minute. Discard vanilla beans, and pour hot liquid over dry ingredients. Using a rubber spatula, mix until well combined.
3. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, and spread evenly with the granola. Bake until golden brown and evenly toasted, tossing once about halfway through, about 30 minutes. Remove baking sheet from oven and place on a rack to cool; mixture will be soft and sticky while hot, but will dry and become crisp as it cools.
4. When granola is completely cool and dry, break into bite-size pieces and mix with the mini chocolate chips. Store in an airtight container.