Lazy Granola with Chinese 5 Spice

I’ve been cleaning out the freezer in the garage, not cleaning cleaning, you know, just sorting out what’s in there and eating it if possible. I came across a quart of peaches in vanilla sugar that I had sliced and frozen last summer. Since we are only a month away from new peaches, I figured I should do something with them.
Last year I made a peach crisp and instead of using cinnamon, I used some Chinese 5 spice powder. I had gotten it at our co-op, where you can buy bulk spices and herbs. I like being able to buy a tiny bit of things I’ve never tried before. I open the jar, smell it, scoop a little in a bag- it winds up being like 25 cents for a recipe’s worth. (It drives DH crazy, though, because I never label the bags, so there are all these bags of green herbage in the cabinet)
I had first used the 5 spice in a dry rub for steak, which got a thumbs- down from DH, and a thumbs up from me. So, then I tried it in peach crisp, and loved it, but it got a thumbs down from basically everyone else that I made taste it. We are picky around here, I tell you.
According to the Spice House website, which is a supplier of herbs and spices, their 5 spice mix is: “Gently hand mixed from China Tung Hing cassia cinnamon, powdered cassia buds, powdered star anise and anise seed, China No. 1 ginger and ground cloves. By my count, that’s only 3 spices, unless the seeds of anise taste way different from the pods…and the cassia buds taste different from the bark… which I guess it could, but that still only makes 4. It’s a mystery.
Frontier is the distributor of the bulk spices at my co-op, and their website doesn’t list any ingredients at all- their listing reads like the J. Peterman catalog: “Chinese Five Spice Five Spice Seasoning includes all five tastes: sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and hot or spicy. Thought to create a balance of yin and yang, this spicy blend makes for a great twist on American dishes too. And it’s salt free!
Maybe I should sell it harder with my kids, “C’mon, try it, you know how you’ve been needing to balance your yin and yang!”

I loved the 5 spice, but I am virtually the only one in my house who does. So, then, I figured the streusel topping stuff was essentially granola, and wouldn’t life be easier if I could just slice some peaches, put yogurt on top and sprinkle it with granola. I could cook up a big batch on a cool day, and have it ready for peaches any time I wanted.
Lazy Granola
2 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons 5 spice powder, or cinnamon, or whatever spice floats your boat
½ cup almonds
Dump everything into a bowl and mix with a wooden spoon- all of the oatmeal flakes should be pretty evenly coated with the sugar/oil mixture. Preheat oven to 250, pour the granola mix into a sheet pan and toast for an hour. Shake and stir it every 15 minutes so it browns evenly. When it cools, store in an airtight container.

No photos- beautiful arty pictures of year-old frozen peaches, or uniformly brown granola are beyond my food stylist skill level right now.


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