Maple Rum Granola

Can we talk granola today? WHY don’t we make it ourselves? It’s ridiculously easy and totally adaptable. (and if you’re looking for a last minute/budget friendly gift for the people in your life, this granola will make you a rock star. Can you say Pinterest-Mason jar win? Huzzah!). I forget how much I actually enjoy making it…until this weekend.

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I like my granola to be interesting, and by “interesting,” I mean that it should have as much stuff as I can find to throw into it. Texture is huge.

This granola has a wonderful rummy undertone…because I can’t leave well enough alone and made it boozey.

The recipe below makes a pretty big batch if you want to share it, and if not granola will last for quite some time in an airtight container. Breakfast on the run or purse snacks, anyone?

Maple Rum Granola

What you’ll need:

10 cups oats

1 ½ cups pecans, coarsely chopped (I just broke apart with my hands)

1/2 cup hemp seeds

1/3 cup ground flax seed meal.

1 cup sunflower seeds (unsalted)

2 cups coconut  flakes (unsweetened)

1 cup cocoa nibs

1 Tbsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. sea salt

1 ¼ cup maple syrup

1 cup olive oil

1/3 cup dark rum

1 splash vanilla

Dried cranberries-to your taste- I threw in a few handfuls.

What to do:

Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Pre-heat oven to 325.

Combine all dry ingredients except cranberries in a large bowl. Note:  Don’t have a big enough mixing bowl? A giant soup pot works really well!

Heat maple syrup, olive oil and dark rum in a sauce pan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a low boil for about two minutes, stirring occasionally. Then turn off heat. Let cool slightly and stir in vanilla.

Add your maple mixture to dry ingredients and toss until evenly coated.

Pour granola onto 3 lined baking sheets and bake in pre-heated oven for about 50 minutes or until granola is golden brown, taking out once to toss (so your oats don’t burn).

Allow granola to cool completely, then mix in dried cranberries and store in an airtight container. 

Happy eating!


Cinnamon Bun Cake

Oh boy… this cake is sinful. And comforting…can something be sinful and comforting at the same time? If this cake is any indication, then yes….It’s like a warm hug from your great, great aunt…followed by a slap in the face…does that make sense? Or maybe I have that backward…

The cake is fluffy…like a pancake, but the cinnamon swirl adds pretty marbling and buttery goodness…enough buttery goodness to satisfy old school Paula Deen. The frosting is just the right amount of sweet and creamy.

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This is what cake looks like when you frost it before it cools because you’re running late…

Sidenote: This was actually made as a sample dessert…my amazing friends are getting married at the end of the summer and I am lucky enough to be doing their wedding dessert (cake wasn’t the only option).

I followed this recipe… mostly. I didn’t have any cupcake liners, so I used two 8 inch rounds, I also cut the sugar in half, made a couple of ingredient additions and substitutions and used my own frosting recipe (which has drastically less sugar).

The frosting recipe is a little more complicated than a regular frosting, but it is so worth the extra step or two. Trust me.

Also, please see my notes on the frosting regarding quantity and sweetness.

I had to show you another picture of this...

I had to show you another picture of this…

By popular demand, here is my version.

Cinnamon Bun Cake

Adapted from Every Craving, via Tasty Kitchen (see link above)

Ingredients:

FOR THE CUPCAKE:

  • 2-½ cups All-purpose Flour
  • 2-½ teaspoons Baking Powder
  • ½ teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked Salt
  • 1 stick Unsalted Butter, Softened
  • 1 scant cup sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract

FOR THE CINNAMON SWIRL:

  • 1/2 stick Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 1/3 cups Brown Sugar
  • 1-½ teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoons Salt

*NOTE: I followed the original recipe instructions for the swirl, but it made too much… so I am cutting it in half to save your insulin levels.

FOR THE FROSTING*:

  • 8 oz (I think) Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 8 oz. Mascarpone, room temperature
  • 8 ounces Cream Cheese, Softened
  • 3/4 cups Confectioners Sugar**
  • A splash Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Tbsp. Maple Syrup (please use the real stuff to avoid breaking my heart!)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

*Note: This makes more frosting than you’ll need. I would suggest dividing your frosting into two dishes then adding the maple syrup and cinnamon to one, saving the other half for a different dessert (mixed with crushed up Newman O’s, or on red velvet cake? Anyone?)… OR you can just half this recipe…I know mascarpone is a bit fancy for a regular old cake, but trust me, it’s worth it.

**Second Note: You’ve probably figured out that I am not a huge super sweet frosting fan..so adjust to your taste.

What to do:

Pre-heat oven to 350. Grease two 8 in round cake pans and set aside.

Make the Cinnamon Swirl

  • Melt butter in a small-medium sized bowl over double-boiler. Once melted, remove from heat.
  •  Stir in cinnamon, sugar and salt until smooth. Set aside.

Make the cake

  • Combine dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.
  • Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl (I use my trusty pastry blender for this…you can also use a mixer).
  • Beat in eggs, one at a time (If using the pastry blender, switch to a solid serving spoon or rubber spatula for beating).
  • Stir in vanilla and sour cream.
  • Beat in milk and flour mixture, adding a little of each at a time until all ingredients are well incorporated.
  • This is going to make a pretty thick batter. That’s okay, don’t panic.
  • Divide half of the batter into each of the prepared pans.
  • Give the cinnamon swirl a quick stir and lightly drizzle 1/3 of it over batter.
  • Divide the rest of the batter into each pan and, using a rubber spatula, spread evenly. Drizzle 1/3 of the cinnamon swirl over the top.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick poked into the center comes out clean. Remove them from the oven and let them cool completely before frosting.

Make the Frosting

  • Whip cream to soft peaks, place in refrigerator/set aside.
  • Place mascarpone and cream cheese in stand mixer with whisk attachment and beat on medium speed until combined and smooth.
  • Beat in vanilla and add in powdered sugar, a little at a time, until completely incorporated.
  • Fold in whipped cream by hand (I use a rubber spatula)
  • *Refrigerate until ready to use. *See note above.
  • Right before frosting, add in remaining ingredients.
  • Frost your cake, top with remaining cinnamon swirl.

Happy Wednesday!

PS. How to use up the leftover frosting, two ways:

Crushed up oreo and creamy dreamy goodness... sigh...

Crushed up Oreo and creamy dreamy goodness… sigh…

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Fruit, cookie and whipped frosting parfait