Wake and Bake »

Breakfast snacks for those who get peckish first thing in the morning.

Wake and Bake: Ultimate Tropical Granola

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[Photograph: Carrie Vasios]

While standing in the checkout line at the supermarket, I eavesdrop on other people's shopping baskets all the time. I'm fascinated by people who buy rainbow sherbet and Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwiches. I love to see people with 18 sweet potatoes or 10 boxes of Craisins. But I never approach them about it. I never say, "Funyuns? Really?" or "Ah, Malbec. Are you perchance Argentine?"

But on a recent grocery run, the man standing behind me felt that he could not only comment on my food purchases, but that they were invitation to conversation.

"So, do you do yoga?" he asked. I looked at him skeptically, both because the answer is no and because I don't like being approached by strangers, especially when I'm doing my own personal zen-activity: grocery shopping.

"No."

"Really? You look like you do yoga," he pressed. By the way he was eyeing my groceries, I could tell what he meant was, "You have the shopping cart of someone who does yoga."

"Nope." I smiled and looked away.

He continued to examine the contents of my shopping basket, occasionally naming things out loud. Oats. Dried fruit. Coconut Sugar. I ignored him.

"Agave syrup!" he called out, as if this was the trump card that proved his suspicions.

"I'm making granola," I said.

"Yoga," he replied.

To the cashier's amazement, the man proceeded to ask me where and what type of yoga I practiced until my items were paid for and stowed in my canvas bag.

"Want to grab a coffee?" he asked.

"Om... namastnotyourday!" I said, and fled.

On my way home, I wondered if granola was still being typecast as the pious bird food of yogies, as the wrinkled raisin trail mix of bandanna-clad hikers. A quick online search for common brands reveals that most granola advertising does seem to target the happy-healthy-environmental type. In my mind, granola isn't really healthy at all. It's a fun, rich breakfast that lets me showcase whatever seasonal whims I have in mind.

Like this tropical granola—which I will call the Ultimate Tropical Granola because I have jam packed into its mixture every last bit of tropical flavor that I could find. Combined with a base of oats there is dried mango, candied pineapple and papaya, fatty macadamia nuts, pepitas, coconut flakes, banana chips, and Brazil nuts. The dressing for the granola is a mixture of agave syrup, olive oil, and coconut sugar. The result is a crunchy, sweet breakfast (or ice cream topping) that has a wonderful array of flavors and textures. It's fruity and nutty, with a lovely coconut-vanilla scent. A bowl will transport you to the tropics (not the yoga studio.)

Get the Recipe

Ultimate Tropical Granola »

About the author: Carrie Vasios is the editor of Serious Eats: Sweets. She likes to peruse her large collection of cookbooks while eating jam from the jar. You can follow her on Twitter @carrievasios

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