When in doubt, go with this simple rule: things that you find in a field together usually taste good.
Sure, that glowing, bold title up there probably looks fancy to you, what with its promises of wildness and foraging and adventure…and blackberries. But don’t be fooled! I didn’t do any of those things. Except for the blackberries. I did those.
What I did do was wake up roughly 500 mornings in a row, eat the same granola recipe over and over (not that it’s a bad one: https://freshbeatsfresheats.wordpress.com/2013/02/14/pomegranate-gingerbread-granola/), and get bored. Really bored. For all the crazy, possibly/probably boneheaded stuff I cook up on a regular basis, even I tend to get too comfortable. What’s easier than shoving a bunch of the same ingredients in a bowl, stirring it up, and turning it into granola? Delicious granola, at that?
Which explains why I did that very same thing for months on end, and explains why I’m ready to switch up the program…to new granola! With natural-sounding things in it! And a douchy-sounding title you could easily imagine plastered across a Whole Foods display!
Hey, I never said being comfortable was a bad thing.
—Fresh Beats, Fresh Eats
- Makes a lot.
blackberries (for blackberry syrup)
(+ 2 tablespoons) sugar (for blackberry syrup)
water (for blackberry syrup)
sugar (for candied fennel)
water (for candied fennel)
stalks fennel (for candied fennel)
hulled pumpkin seeds
hulled sunflower seeds
coarsely chopped pecans
wild honey (as opposed to tame, house-broken honey)
light brown sugar
- First, make the blackberry syrup.
- Get yourself a medium pot, add the blackberries, sugar, and water together, and stir while you bring it to a boil.
- Turn it down to a simmer, and let it cook until everything’s become syrup; should take about half an hour. Make sure you press down on the berries once in a while; that’ll help the berries break down faster and release the juices. Also it feels good to crush things. I recommend laughing manically while you do it.
- Once all that’s become syrup, press it through a sieve to get all the chunks out, then put it in a jar and let it cool in the fridge while you make the fennel.
- Chop the fennel stalks on a bias (that means diagonally, people) into small slices.
- Preheat your oven to 250.
- Stir the sugar and water together in a small pan over medium-high heat until it’s dissolved. Should take about 5 minutes.
- Next, add in the fennel, turn it down to medium, and cook for another 3 minutes. Take it off heat, let it sit for 15 minutes, then take the slices out of the syrup and put them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. You can save the leftover syrup for some fancy drinks or something.
- Bake the fennel for 30 minutes, stir them around a bit, then throw it in for 30 more minutes. When it’s dry and sticky, you’re golden.
- Let the fennel cool to room temperature, then coat the pieces with some more sugar.
- Turn up the oven to 300.
- Now the easy part: throw all the granola ingredients except for the fennel together in a big bowl and stir. It’s almost insultingly easy.
- Spread the granola out in an even layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Cook it for 15 minutes, stir, 15 more minutes, stir again, and 15 more minutes, and hey, you guessed it: stir again.
- Once you’ve hit the 45 minute mark, stir in the fennel slices, then bake for 15 more minutes.
- Take the granola out, let it cool, then put it in your preferred granola-receptacle and smash the crap out of it with a wooden spoon so you have those nice granola-y sized pieces. Then eat.