Cinnamon

Appetizer

Cinnamon Bird's Nuts

Makes 4 cups. Recipe courtesy of chef Joshua Lewin of Juliet Restaurant http://www.julietsomerville.com.

A simple recipe with lots of flavor; the flavors of Cinnamon Bird brighten the rich nuts and balance the sweetness. Make when the weather is dry – humid days nuts won’t crisp nicely.

2 tablespoons (15 grams) Cinnamon Bird
4 cups mixed whole nuts
¼ cup (130 g) rich simple syrup*
Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.

Set out a rimmed baking sheet and line it with baking parchment.

Grind the Cinnamon Bird to a powder (use a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder).

Spread the nuts on the lined baking sheet. Roast for 5 minutes or until the nuts are fragrant and very lightly toasted. Pull the baking sheet out of the oven; let the nuts cool.

When the nuts are cool, transfer them to a bowl and toss with the simple syrup and ground Cinnamon Bird. (Make sure that the simple syrup is at room temperature or cooler). Lightly oil the parchment on the baking sheet and spread the nuts on it.

Return the baking sheet to the oven and roast the nuts until the simple syrup is almost dry, about 5 minutes. The nuts will feel a little soft and sticky when you remove them from the oven -- let them cool. They will crisp up as they cool. If they don’t seem crispy enough return them to the oven for another few minutes.

Store at room temperature in an air tight container.

*Rich simple syrup is made with 2 parts sugar and 1 part water. For these nuts, use ½ cup sugar and ¼ cup water – you’ll have syrup left over, but it’s easier to work with than making exactly a ¼ cup of syrup.

Put the water and sugar in a small, heavy-bottomed sauce pan and set it over medium-high heat. Stir a couple of times to moisten the sugar; let the mixture come to a boil. When the sugar has dissolved, reduce the heat, cover the pan, and simmer the syrup for 10 minutes. Allow the syrup to cool and thicken before using it.

Breakfast

Fig & Bay Granola with Hazelnuts

Makes about 10 cups.

4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1½ cups toasted, skinned hazelnuts, roughly chopped
¼ cup whole sesame seeds
3 tablespoons natural cane sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon ground bay leaf (from 8–10 dried leaves)
½ cup (scant) light oil, such as grape seed or safflower
¾ cup mild honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped, dried Turkish figs (about 10)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly coat a rimmed half-sheet baking pan with baking spray or oil and set it aside.

Combine the dry ingredients, except the hazelnuts and figs, in a big bowl. Warm the oil and honey on the stove or in the microwave (45 seconds at half-power). Pour the oil-honey over the dry ingredients and mix until the oats are evenly moistened. Scoop the mixture onto the prepared pan and spread it, edge-to-edge in an even layer.

Put the pan in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Take the pan out of the oven and stir/turn the granola. Repeat the baking and stirring two more times, adding the figs for the last run through the oven. Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the nuts over the granola. Let it cool for about 15 minutes, then stir/turn the granola and allow it to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks or freeze for a month.

Because this granola is sweetened with honey, it will seem slightly moist when still hot. Not to worry, it will crisp as it cools.

To test for crispness, when the granola is almost as golden as you’d like, take a little bit out of the oven and let it cool.