Chai Spice Granola with Almonds and Coconut

Chai Spice Granola with Almonds and Coconut 4

I’m in a haphazard place with dinner-making this week.  We’ve been great about menu-planning and stocking the fridge on Sundays.  But on my commute home from work, I keep deciding to stray from the plan.  It’s resulting in a lot of improvisational meals.  Last night I planned a vegetarian stew and instead made miso soup and baked spring rolls.  Tonight it was supposed to be brothy asian greens (a recipe from Fine Cooking) but ended up whole wheat pasta with a variation on this pesto.

I’m usually such a planner.  This is a strange turn of events.

Menu Planning Chez Nous

Maybe I’m just liking that every night feels like my own personal quick-fire challenge.

Is anyone else feeling certain they could survive off of nothing more than Alaskan salmon and sourdough bread after last week’s Top Chef?

Whole Cardamom

What was I talking about?

Chai Spice Mix

Oh right.

Most of these winging-it dinners are turning out okay, although meals that consist of throwing “a little of this” and “a little of that” into a pot and hoping for the best hardly translate well to blogging.

The only thing saving the pages of this blog from silence at the moment is that I spent quality time over the weekend up to my elbows in oats, almonds, coconut and  chai spice.  (I used actual measurements, so as to keep the extemporaneous work limited to dinnertime.)

Chai Spice Granola with Almonds and Coconut 5Chai-spiced granola has been on my mind for months. The memory of the fragrant chai we drank on a few vivid mornings in India last April or  the addictive batch of granola by this name that I bought in the U.S. last September have kept it simmering in the back of my mind.  I find granola recipes to be a fickle sort.  They might taste great on their own, but do they taste just as good over plain yogurt?  Are they adaptable enough to embrace any sort of dried fruit I happen to have on hand?  Is the balance of salty and sweet just right?

Chai Spice Granola with Almonds and Coconut 3

After several batches (all of which we will still, of course, happily eat), the one below was exactly the granola I had in mind.

Chai Spice Granola with Almonds and Coconut

I should offer one quick note on the finished recipe.  The chai flavor in this granola really shines.  It does not slink off to hide behind the toastyness of the oats, the subtle sweetness of the coconut, or the crunch of almond.  It is present and assertive, and I loved it this way.  Frank preferred this exact recipe with a more understated spice.  If you think you’d fall into his camp, this granola is certainly still worth making, but I would recommend using half of the spice mixture as presented below.  (Hold on to the rest – it would be great stirred into warm milk with honey, mixed into a batch of banana bread, or saved for a future batch of granola.)

Good thing that if one of these improv dinners should fail, we’re well-stocked in tasty granola and yogurt.

Chai Spice Granola with Almonds and Coconut
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A fragrant granola with a good amount of chai spice, coconut, and almonds.
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 3 cups (1/4 cup per serving)
Ingredients
Chai Spice Mix:
  • 1 and ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ginger powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
Granola:
  • 1 and ½ cups rolled oats
  • ¼ cup quick-cook oats
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • ½ cup whole unsalted almonds, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 Tablespoon light brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup roughly chopped dried figs (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together ground cinnamon, ground cloves, ginger powder, and ground cardamom. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine rolled oats, quick-cook oats, coconut flakes, and almonds. In another small bowl, mix honey, coconut oil, light brown sugar, almond extract, and salt until fully combined. Add wet mixture and spice mixture to dry ingredients and mix until evenly combined. (The mixture will come together in clumps. I find it is easiest to use my hands.)
  4. Spread mixture out an ungreased baking sheet. Bake, stirring halfway through, until light golden and fragrant, 20-22 minutes. Watch the granola carefully in the last few minutes of baking and remove if it gets darker than a golden brown.
  5. Remove granola from oven and immediately add figs (if using), stirring to combine. Allow to cool completely at room temperature. (Granola will be soft when it comes out of the oven but will crisp as it cools.) Once cooled, store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ¼ cup Calories: 164 Total Fat: 11g Saturated fat: 5g Carbohydrates: 16g Sugar: 7g Sodium: 4mg Fiber: 2g Protein: 4g Cholesterol: 0mg

 

Comments

    • says

      Can’t wait to see your recipe, Averie! I’ve never made Chai Spice myself, but now I’m already dreaming up other ways to use it. It’s got such a unique flavor.

    • says

      Usually I have to stick to the plan or I feel like the whole week is off, Ashley! I’m glad I’m not the only one – who knows why my planning self is out of sorts this week. I blame the heat. ;)

  1. says

    Oh you are funny today Jess! Must be a change in the air. I know the feeling though. This year I’ve not been good at menu planning at all. Ideas seem to pop into my head around lunch time and that’s as far in advance as I plan.
    I’m a sucker for anything with cinnamon so this sounds good to me. I especially like that the figs are optional.
    Just re-read my comment… it seems I’ve been watching too much Downton Abbey. Since when do I say ‘I’ve not been’???
    Claire @ Claire K Creations recently posted..Raspberry loaf cake filled with loveMy Profile

    • says

      Claire – I’ve been watching way too much Downton Abbey too – makes me want a big green lawn and to wear fancy dresses to dinner. I’ve been so sad since the season ended. Let’s all just start talking like we live at Downton…. I loved the figs in this granola, but I suspected those wouldn’t be a selling point.

  2. says

    Mmmmmmm, chai spiced granola. That sounds just perfect. Cardamom is huge in Swedish baking (cinnamon buns are actually cardamom buns) and I’ve totally come to expect a hint of it in many things. I like that this recipe doesn’t have too much oil in it either. Will definitely be giving this one a go!
    Katie (The Muffin Myth) recently posted..what’s good around the web!My Profile

    • says

      Katie – this totally made me re-think other granola recipes I’ve used. Some of them use so much oil, but as I kept reducing the amount in batches of this version, it didn’t suffer at all for it. In fact, I think it helped bring out the spice flavor and enhance the crunch! Lesson learned.

    • says

      Hi Katrina – so good to “meet” you too! I absolutely love homemade granola as well – it’s so simple to make and the flavor possibilities are endless.

  3. says

    Don’t you love it when something you’ve been simmering on pops up on a favorite food blog? I do and this totally fits! I’ve never made granola, but have been toying with giving it a try. I love this twist and can’t wait to try it! I’m also thinking a batch of this spice mix would be awesome stirred into oatmeal :)
    Heather {ModernMealsforTwo} recently posted..Caramel banana syrupMy Profile

    • says

      Such a good idea, Heather. I made a few different batches of the spice mixes in different amounts and have been brainstorming ways to use it. I have oatmeal every morning – I think I’ll try that tomorrow. I keep wanting to use it in muffins too!

  4. Michelle says

    Can’t wait to try this and kicking myself for not thinking of it first! thank you for doing the work for me. My chai recipe, from a sweet little Indian man with his own restaurant in California, calls for crush dried basil and black peppercorns, which I plan to add to your recipe when I make this! :)

    • says

      Michelle – so glad you stopped by! I am totally intrigued by your chai recipe, and it sounds like you got it from a great source. Please stop back in and let me know how it goes when you add those additional spices. I did try a version with peppercorns, but I couldn’t get the proportions to taste right so I gave up – I’d love to hear how you do it!

  5. Veronica says

    Just had to tell you how much I enjoyed this recipe! The almond extract really adds something, and I love how it is crispy but not greasy. I’ll be making my second batch tomorrow and keeping the recipe.

    • says

      Veronica – thanks so much for stopping in to let me know! I was amazed at how much less oil this needed than other granola recipes I’ve used – it really does result in extra crunch and a lighter granola.

  6. Alyssa says

    This looks AMAZING! I found you on tastykitchen.com (so love that site!) DO you mind if I pin your recipe? Just wanted to check first!

    • says

      I only discovered chai tea in the past couple years, Katie, and now I’m totally hooked. It’s such a unique flavor, and I’ve found that it really goes so well with baked goods AND in granola!

  7. says

    Thank you for such a great recipe, I just made it and have put into beautiful glass containers. I can’t wait to give it to my husband for breakfast tomorrow. The cardamom is such an interesting addition.

  8. Cynthia says

    I came to your website looking for the other granola recipe and stumbled on it this one! Made it tonight leaving out the cardamom (so $$ at villa, where do you buy yours?) and adding chocolate chips after it came out of the oven. It made the apt smell like a holiday Yankee candle!! I just burned my tongue by trying to gobble it up before it cooled…it’s that good. Love that it uses much less oil than other granola recipes. Thanks Jess :) hope to see you soon.

    • says

      I have to admit, this definitely might be my new favorite granola, Cynthia. Glad you liked it too! SO, cardamom was an adventure! I ended up buying the whole pods at Foodland (for 20 baht or so). Was it whole or ground at villa? The ground stuff seems to be super expensive, but the whole pods seem to cost far less. The downside is that you have to pound the whole pods with a mortar and pestle, remove the tiny black seeds (discarding the shells) and pound THOSE until they are a powder. It tastes great…but is a heck of a lot of work for the small amount of ground cardamom most recipes use.

      • cynthia p.. says

        Wow, 20 baht at Foodland – that’s about 12x less than it was at Villa ground up. I already finished the first batch so I might have to make another batch for this week.

        I’m making your black bean burgers for dinner tonight, will let you know how that goes. Have you found the quinoa here to be different than from home? I just tried to make some from Sunshine Market two different ways (rice cooker and stovetop) and it turned to complete mush, so I’m subbing brown rice.

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