a tale of two granolas
is this just a breakfast blog now
The first moments of Jessie Ware’s new album find her cooing: That! Feels good! Other voices join in, whispering and purring the phrase—the album’s title!—as their voices escalate into a chorus of pleasure. Then finally, a command appears: do it again.
This! is what I want my food to feel like! And this! is how I felt when I finally landed on my new granola recipe! That! Tastes good! The ecstasy of landing on the exact feeling you want, the eager anticipation of repetition. Do it again.
Is this becoming a breakfast blog? I don’t think so, but I hope you’ll excuse me as I offer you another thing to eat with yogurt. I’m still on my chia pudding kick—this week I’ve been eating it with roasted rhubarb, now talk about exciting!—but for months I couldn’t get the idea of this granola out of my head. Ever since I interviewed Kristen Miglore last year, I’ve been jonesing for an almond butter version of Jenné Claiborne’s tahini pistachio granola. It’s a breezy recipe that you can make in, like, 30 minutes, without too many bells and whistles. The tahini nixes any need for oil, adds a bit of savory nuttiness, and offers up those much-desired clumps.
First I swapped in almond butter for tahini, and sunflower seeds (because that’s what I needed to use up) for pistachio, and it was a wonderful version of what I might call “really good basic granola”. Nutty and just sweet enough, and a wonderful blank canvas. I prefer a granola that doesn’t feel like high-fiber candy, because I like to eat a lot of it, and too much sugar in the morning is bad news for me. I want a good dash of excitement, but without a tummy ache.
The almond butter batch was good, but I dreamed of chocolate. I love a chocolate granola. I am a sucker for Nature’s Path Love Crunch—just this side of candy!—and I recently plowed through the Tom’s Perfect 10 x Tony’s Chocolonely Triple Chocolate granola I got sent1, which was candy, and very good candy.
I tried adding some cocoa powder and leaving it at that, but it landed a little flat. So I tossed in a generous handful of cacao nibs, an extra pinch of salt2 to highlight the chocolatiness, and a bunch of coconut flakes, which in my mind go perfectly with cocoa. A big spoonful of coconut oil rounded it all out, and now I have what I think is my ideal chocolate granola. Somehow the cacao nibs and coconut pair up to taste fruity, almost juicy? The flakes add a slight chew, because the short bake time keeps them from getting crispy. And you still get those clumps: the trick is to let the granola fully cool before you break it up. I’ve been eating it with yogurt in the afternoons, or for second breakfast in the late morning; I’ve been eating it by the handful, the purest way to mainline that alluring coco-cacao combo; and the other night I ate it atop the last of my Malai sweet cream ice cream, which I am now gonna need to get more of.
I would say this is my “favorite” granola recipe but in fact that would be unkind to my older sibling’s house granola, which is always sitting in an enormous ball jar on their kitchen island when I visit. It’s a pared-down version of Nekisia Davis’ olive oil-maple granola (which Kristen also introduced to me, Genius that she is), with less sugar and a godly quantity of cashews. It’s not too sweet, it’s nutty and coconutty, it really makes you appreciate the cashew, perhaps our most versatile nut! It’s also just better—and easier—than the original version. I asked Marlow if I could share it here and they said yes.
I figured that the only thing better than one really good granola recipe is two of them, because breakfast is such a personal thing, and snacking is too. All I can promise you is that you’ll eat one or both of these and—if I’ve played my cards right—you’ll think That! Tastes good! Do it again!
Marian's Coco-Cacao Granola
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