A few weeks ago, when I was shopping at Rainbow Grocery, our local whole foods store/hippie mart, I spotted a bag of “gourmet” lavender granola for sale. I immediately loved the idea of incorporating lavender into granola, but I simply could not get past the extortionate price tag of $10 for a measly 10-ounce bag, not least because you can buy organic rolled oats (the main ingredient) a few aisles away for less than $1 a pound.
I regularly make my own granola, and yesterday I finally got around to making it with lavender. You could certainly make a more complicated granola, with flaxseed, coconut flakes, and dried fruit, or you could make a richer one with more butter, but for me this is the Goldilocks of granola, with just enough sweetness and a nice crunch that makes it the perfect match for Greek yogurt and fresh fruit, my favorite way to enjoy it.
Lavender and hazelnut granola
1 1/2 cups hazelnuts
4 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon organic dried lavender
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 egg whites, lightly beaten (optional)
First, prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit.
Coarsely chop the hazelnuts.
In a large bowl, combine the hazelnuts with the rolled oats and sunflower seeds.
Then, using a mortar and pestle, finely grind the lavender.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, then stir in the brown sugar, maple syrup, lavender, and salt until the sugar and salt have melted and the mixture comes to simmer.
Carefully pour the hot butter mixture over the bowl with the oat mixture and stir to combine.
Stir in the egg whites (these help to make the granola form clumps while cooking, but you can omit them if you like).
Spread the oat mixture evenly on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 45 minutes, stirring after each 15 minutes, until dry and toasty-smelling. The granola will continue to crisp up as it cools. The granola will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for at least 2 weeks. But if you have strawberries like these beauties, plus some Greek yogurt, good luck with that.