When I was growing up, my mom did a lot of cooking from The Jane Brody Good Food book.
Last time I was visiting, she had her copy opened up on the counter, and I noticed little notes written in the margins of various recipes. Theres were little splashes on some pages and a light dusting of flour on others.
I mentioned to her that I remembered that cookbook all throughout my childhood and she said it was one of the cookbooks where practically everything she'd ever made was a success.
I don't own a Jane Brody cookbook, but Mel's Kitchen Cafe is that way for me.
I first discovered her blog just before we moved away from Texas the first time in 2009. I'd just met Allison, who would go on to become one of my favorite people on earth when we moved back and were neighbors for three years, and she made a couple of recipes from there for different occasions and every one was mind-bogglingly good.
After we moved to Boston, I started cooking my way through recipe after recipe on her blog, and one after another was a huge hit.
I know whatever I make will be delicious, and if I need a specific recipe, I always go to her blog first.
At this point, seven years later, if Bart raises an eyebrow when I tell him what's for dinner, I can just say, "It's from Mel's Kitchen Cafe" and he's immediately assured he'll like whatever it is.
Of course, this recipe wasn't much of a stretch, because there is no one in my family who doesn't like chocolate and coconut and almonds.
And, as I expected, it was delicious.
I made a few changes based on what I had on hand, and next time, I'm making a triple batch of these little babies because they were the perfect snack to keep stocked in the freezer.
Double Chocolate Granola Balls
(slightly adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe)
Makes about 2 dozen
2 cups quick oats
1/2 cup shredded coconut
3/4 cup sliced almonds, roughly chopped or pulsed in the blender
1/2 cup honey
4 Tablespoons salted butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner and sprinkle the coconut and almonds. Bake in the oven for 5-8 minutes, stirring every few minutes, until the coconut and almonds are golden-brown and fragrant.
In a large bowl, combine the oats, coconut and almonds.
In a small saucepan, melt the honey, butter, peanut butter, cocoa powder and chocolate chips together over medium heat, stirring frequently to keep from burning.
Remove from heat, stir in vanilla, and pour over the oat mixture. Stir until everything is thoroughly coated.
With a cookie scoop, scoop mounds onto the cookie sheet you used to toast the coconut and almonds (leave the parchment paper or liner on there). Let them cool about 10 minutes, then use your hands to roll them into balls.
Store in the refrigerator or freezer.