You wonder how you’ve arrived at this hour, AGAIN, without being prepared. It’s not a surprise, after all, that sometime between lunch and twilight you will be rummaging through your bag or desk frantically searching for a snack to satisfy that grumbling.
When that late afternoon craving finally settles in, what do you reach for?
What’s YOUR 4:00?
I’ve fallen hard for Nothin’ But Granola and I’m suddenly bumping into these bars and bagged crumbles in some of my favorite haunts in CT and NYC . It fits into my bag, nutritiously tops my snack of plain yogurt, and is a bright shot of goodness in my morning bowl.
I jumped at the opportunity to watch this tastemaker mix her magic. I’ve known Jerri for a few years and started happily nibbling on her distinctively flavored bars sometime just after she transitioned from supplying my favorite coffee shop with muffins and before she began selling her granola products at the Westport Farmers’ Market. That was 2009.
Nothin’ But has always stood apart in my book, with big flavor profiles and mostly organic ingredients. But it’s the unexpected nuance that hits the palate after the initial burst of flavor, that keeps me coming back for more.
For now, she’s honed in on her favorite group of four bars, allowing production and distribution to become larger and more widespread. Nothin’ But Ginger, Lemon, Cashew granola bars are among my favorite. These chewy bars of citrusy sunshine, assert lemon brightness and make for one happy snack.
And kosher keepers, rejoice. This product is now certified kosher!
Three blends of egg-free, wheat free and butter free cookies have been added to the collection, too. And while production has moved from Westport, CT. to a professional, kosher kitchen in NJ, Graham is as busy as ever allowing her creative juices to run wild as she plans her next move.
I donned my apron and met Graham at a Westport bakery studio where she continues to share Cake Suite‘s space during off hours (check Michelle Klem‘s gorgeous and delicious specialty cakes and class offerings). As I entered the open work room, lined with racks of cake pans, mixers, and ingredients of all fanciful sorts, the aroma of the tropics came at me like an airborne pina colada.
Before I knew it, I was tasting spoonful after spoonful of pineapple, coconut, almond deliciousness. Jerri wanted MORE essence of the tropics and added chopped organic mango. “MORE COWBELL”, she mused out loud, referencing a Saturday Night Live sketch from 2000 with Christopher Walken.
She pushed the suggestion of warm tropical breezes by adding a bit of heat from crystalized ginger. “MORE COWBELL”, she demanded, throwing open the doors of the bakery’s double fridge to scavenge for a clementine, a lemon, an orange. “CITRUS is missing”, she proclaimed with clarity, as she sought more balance to the sweet prominence of the pureed pineapple.
We are on a roll; chopping, rummaging, tasting and darting from subject to subject. For a few moments, we land on raising kids, girls in particular, as she is a single Mom of a budding teen. She points to a slogan emblazoned across her t-shirt which suggests, “Raise Your Expectations”. We talk about the double entendre of it pertaining to food that comes from the kitchen, not a lab. We speak about women of color and her frustration with families who don’t push their kids hard enough by setting expectations higher.
We bounce back to food talk and land on our mutual appreciation of tehini and how much we both love it’s silky texture. She begins to whisk tehini with lemon zest, chopped pistachios and organic apricots. Her creative juices flow as we explore how to make this flavor profile have MORE COWBELL.
I leave with a little stash which I’ve already tucked into my bag for my afternoon commute.
To get a great deal and check out my favorite 4:00, click here to order Nothin’ But Granola Bars and enter KLM13 for your 15% discount. Feel free to share the discount code with other granola lovers.
What’s YOUR 4:00? I want to know!
Jerri Graham and I brainstormed on this recipe as we spoke about how flexible NOTHIN' BUT Granola is. Feel free to experiment with berry and preserve flavors.
- 1 frozen pie crust
- 10 oz. bag/box of Nothin' But cherry cranberry almond granola or cookies
- 3 Tb butter or non-dairy margarine
- 1/2 t cinnamon
- 1 16 ounce bag frozen berry medley or frozen berries of your choice
- zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
- 3/4 c raspberry or blueberry preserves
- 1-2 Tb brown sugar (optional)
- 3 Tb flour (adjust as needed)
- Follow defrosting instruction on frozen pie crust box.
- Place unrolled crust in 10 " pie pan and gently unroll while pressing into pan's bottom and sides.
- Prick bottom and sides with fork and bake in 400 degree oven for 8-10 minutes, or until light golden. Remove from oven and set aside.
- Pulse granola cookies until they are crumbly but not fine.
- Place in bowl and with fingertips, mix butter with crumbs until integrated. Mix in cinnamon and set aside.
- Place berries, preserves, lemon juice and zest in saucepan on low flame. Stir and simmer for 20-25 minutes.
- Slowly whisk flour into heated mixture until it thickens. Whisk continually and add 1-2 Tb. brown sugar if you like it sweeter.
- Allow mixture to cool and thicken for about 10-15 minutes. Whisk periodically to prevent lumps from forming.
- Pour into pie shell and spread evenly with spatula.
- Top with granola mixture, spreading evenly.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until top is lightly browned.
Baking time varies. You'll want to get the crumble lightly browned but prevent it from burning by watching it carefully.
For parve, or non-dairy treat, substitute non-dairy margarine for butter and use non-dairy frozen pie shell.
And because food bloggers love to share, and it might be fun for you to see TOTAL BEDLAM in my kitchen, here’s my largest disaster, to date.
Luckily, I got the pie shot before this happened. Alas, my sister did not receive this jammy treat as a birthday sweet.