Wednesday, May 5, 2010

adventures in sinaesthesia: Spice heaven

To me, there is nothing more comforting than spice; on my skin or inside of me, it makes no difference. I associate it with comfort, family, and delicious baked things. I am not a great baker, usually preferring to cook things rather than bake them, but my sister has inherited my mother’s knack for creating gorgeous grainy foodstuffs. I begged her to give me her recipe for the most incredible granola; she says she has basically been living off of it this entire semester.  She says  “I go to a grocery store where I can buy all of the ingredients in bulk--it's the cheapest way I think.” Here is her recipe for granola:

“1 cup canola oil IMG_4590
1/2 cup water
3 T molasses 
1 cup packed brown sugar
6 cups oats

2 cups finely shredded unsweetened coconut
1 cup sliced almonds
3/4 cup sesame seeds
3/4 cup walnuts
1 cup pumpkin seeds
3/4 cup peanuts
3/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 1/4 cup powdered milk
1 1/14 cup all-bran cereal
2 T cinnamon
3 T ground ginger

3 T freshly ground cardamom

Heat oil, water and molasses in a saucepan and whisk together but DO NOT BOIL. Mix all dry ingredients to incorporate, then stir in the hot liquid. This mix will be very crumbly--DON'T PANIC! Spread granola thinly IMG_4582 over each sheet pan and tamp down tightly. Bake at 300 F for 15 minutes (I usually end up baking it for 20-30 minutes . . . )
Also, you can not add or add basically anything you want . . . I never really use all-bran cereal and usually only put in half as much powdered milk as it calls for.”

I miss having my sister around—it has been such a joy getting to know her better as she grows up, and someday I hope we can live closer to one another.  For now, though, I medicate my homesickness with a bowl of my sister’s granola—just smelling it reminds me of her baking the huge batch for me when she came to visit this March—and augment the smell of comfort with Jo Malone’s Nutmeg and Ginger. I think this fragrance is brilliant in its simplicity.  Although it’s backed with delicate woods-sandalwood makes it smell almost creamy—the scent is mostly delicate, warm, spice—thankfully free of cinnamon and clove. Just the lush, ambient goodness of the more musky spices—I love wearing this, and I love layering it, and I love almost everything about it.

Anyone else around here associate the smell of baking spices with comfort and family?


  1. after telling him about it, hamid requested that i make him this granola for his birthday, which was a few weeks ago. while i'm only getting around to telling you now, we both LOVED it! i'm going to have to lessen the cardamom next time (i love cardamom, but unless it's super subtle it tends to be the only flavor i taste), and i think i need to bake it a bit longer. but it was so delicious. we've been on a quest for the perfect granola for a while now, and it seems like we found it!

  2. What a nice B-day present! I am sorry about the cardamom. I love it, and tend to go a little heavy there. Of course, the recipe is totally modifiable. I had to bake it longer too; I'll have to change that in the recipe post. I am glad you liked it though. Justin and I have been eating it for breakfast almost every day.

    Much love, as always


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