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Friday, August 19, 2011

Topside Granola

I thought I'd found the perfect recipe for granola. That is, until I had the granola from the Topside Inn in Boothbay Harbor, ME. Dark and flavorful, it was perfect on its own or with yogurt. The hosts were gracious enough to share the recipe with me. I tweaked it just a bit, and it really is hard to decide if my 'Best Granola Ever' claim can stand against this recipe.

We'll just call it a tie.

Topside Granola

Preheat the oven to 325F.

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl:
9 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup sunflower kernels
3 cup chopped nuts (1 cup each of pecans, almonds, & walnuts)

In a microwavable* container (i.e., 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup), mix:
1 1/2 cups canola oil (I've also used 1/2 to 3/4 cup applesauce with 1 or 3/4 cup oil to reduce fat)
1 1/2 cups honey
1/2 cup molasses
2 Tbsp. vanilla extract

Cook in microwave* on high until hot but not boiling (5-7 minutes), and then stir.

Pour over dry mixture and stir well, coating all of the dry with wet ingredients. Pour mix into 2 large prepared sheet pans (sprayed lightly with oil) and spread evenly.

Place pans into preheated oven and set timer for 15 minutes. Remove pans from oven and stir well, especially from corners of pan. Repeat 3 more times for a total of 4 baking sessions. Watch carefully after two baking sessions; the last two sessions may need to be shorter to avoid burning. It should be dark & golden brown.

Cool on the pan, using a spatula to stir periodically to avoid big lumps.

Stir in
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried cherries (optional-I don't prefer them)

Store in airtight container in the refrigerator, or also can be frozen in heavy zip-lock bags.

From the Topside Inn, Boothbay Harbor, ME

Monday, August 15, 2011


I'm a sucker for a recipe. I follow them pretty much exactly, especially the first time I make something, so it's odd that I'd come up with something new that worked perfectly the first time. So perfectly (and deliciously addictive) that we dubbed them Crack-Cakes and two dozen cupcakes, um, 'disappeared' from our house within 36 hours. You eat one, and it's pretty good. Soon thereafter, you have to have another one. The maple buttercream frosting is out of this world. My culinary muse certainly earned her wings that day.
Or something like that.
Just make the cupcakes.
(But make them for an event/gathering or your scale will be unhappy with you.)


One box Betty Crocker white cake mix (do not use ingredients listed on box)
1 1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. molasses
2 whole eggs

Mix thoroughly & bake according to package directions for cupcakes.

Maple Buttercream

1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
4 cups powdered sugar
3 Tbsp. maple syrup (not maple flavoring)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Mix thoroughly until smooth. This is better the next day, so I recommend making it in advance. Store in the fridge in an airtight container; bring to room temperature and re-whip before using.