There is something about cardamom that is hard to describe. At first it is a spicy peppery taste that makes me think of savoury dishes, but then there is a hint of sweet and a nut taste too. It is a unique powerful spice that is very aromatic. I love it. I keep finding more and more ways to use it. Cardamom is delicious in coffee, hot chocolate, warm milk or of course chai tea. It is wonderful in combination with apples, pears and oranges and it goes very well with ginger and cinnamon. Much more commonly used outside of North America in India, Asia, Sweden and Finland, it isn’t a spice I know very well, but I am looking forward to trying more recipes with cardamom as it makes dishes extra special.
This granola is extra special. Spicy, sweet, crunchy, nutty; it is one terrific bowl of cereal that is hearty and satisfying. Perfect for busy mornings, it provides a nutritious breakfast that is completely delicious. Filled with toasty oats, coconut, pecans, just enough sweetness and lovely warm spice from cardamom, cinnamon and ginger it is great for cold winter mornings. I usually make a batch on the weekend to last for a couple of breakfasts throughout the next week or so.
Speaking of batch cooking and planning ahead, that is my January project. There is something about the New Year that makes me want to get organized. Determined to do meal plans, cook ahead, and organize the kitchen it helps us to save money and time, reduce our food waste, plan to include lots of colours and increase variety in our diets. Make ahead breakfasts, crock pot dinners, batch cooking – it all just helps so much to reduce stress and provide healthy food for our busy family even on the most hectic of days.
Pear Cardamom Granola with Pecans
Makes 12 servings (1/2 cup)
4 cups oats (Large Flake or Old Fashioned Oats) *
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup pecans
1 cup pear sauce (or apple sauce)*
2 tablespoons oil
1/3 cup brown sugar*
1 tsp ground cardamom
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup dried cranberries
Directions: Preheat oven to 300 degrees and prepare cooking pans by lining them with parchment paper. In a large bowl, mix together oats, coconut and pecans and set aside. In a small saucepan mix together pear sauce, oil, brown sugar, spices and salt. Heat over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Pour sauce mixture into oats and stir well. Spread out onto prepared pans. Bake for approx 45 minutes until toasty. Stir every 15 minutes and add the dried cranberries during the last 10 minutes of baking. Let cool completely and store in a jar. Makes approx 6 cups granola.
*To make gluten free ensure gluten free oats are used.
*To make pear sauce, wash pears, core and chop. Add to small saucepan with a little water and cook on low until tender. Mash or blend.
*Substitute 1/4 cup honey or 1/4 cup maple syrup if desired.