i’ve been getting really into homemade granola lately. ever since i made my pumpkin spice granola this past fall, i’ve had it in my head that i wanted to create a cardamom vanilla almond granola. cardamom is one of my top 3 favorite spices and it pairs so well with (well, everything, but specifically in this case) nuts that i was excited to try out the idea.
the first batch of cardamom vanilla almond granola was good but not amazing, amazing being my standard for sharing things here with all of you. (that’s also why every recipe here gets referred to as “my favorite”, because i wouldn’t be sharing it if it wasn’t the latest food i didn’t want to live without.) because i was starting with a pretty tried-and-true granola formula (besides the pumpkin spice, it’s also the base for my ginger granola), the main problem with batch 1 was that it just didn’t have quite enough cardamom for my taste (give me ALLLL the cardamom!).
since most spices mellow in intensity when baked, the balance of flavor that worked well when i sampled a bit of the “raw” granola didn’t totally translate once the granola did its time in the oven. upping the cardamom turned out to be an easy fix (i know that sounds obvious, but i had initially been concerned about overdoing it with the cardamom so tried a more moderate amount at first. i put too much nutmeg in a bowl of oatmeal years ago and have been super wary of nutmeg ever since and didn’t want to set myself off of cardamom the same way.)
another thing i didn’t love about batch 1 was that i using two different shapes of almonds (slivered and chopped whole almonds), thinking that i would like the variety but actually i did not enjoy the bigger chunks of almonds. another easy fix: i just nixed the chopped whole almonds and stuck to the slivered almonds.
once i increased the cardamom and tamed the whole almond melee-in-my-mouth situation, we were in business. and now i have a granola that is not only delicious over yogurt or with a splash of (almond) milk, but also will be so super yummy with berries, once berry season arrives. cardamom and berries is another consistently delicious pairing (see: cardamom cake served with raspberries) so, if the sun ever comes out again and lets all of the berry plants do their thing, then i will be eager to try this cardamom vanilla almond granola with berries too. yummm. come on sun! grow us some berries to go with our granola!