5 days of Scandinavia: No oats needed for this Copenhagen-inspired granola

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Rye breadcrumb granola from Original Coffee in Copenhagen. Photo by Addie Broyles.

Hej hej!

That’s Swedish for, “Hey, I’ve been gone for a few weeks, but I’m really happy to be back!”

My sister and I were on an ancestry trip to Sweden to see where our family emigrated from back in the late 1800s. Our goal was to see Visby, a town on the island of Gotland that is about 60 miles off the eastern coast of Sweden where my great-great-grandmother left, with two kids in tow, to move to Southwest Missouri in 1892.

You’ll be reading more about that trip that was 134 years in the making, but this week, I wanted to blog about out five noteworthy food moments that stand out as I reflect on my trip.

We’re going to start not in Sweden but in Denmark. Copenhagen, specifically. That’s where we ended our trip.

Our very last meal together was breakfast at a coffee shop called Original Coffee. My sister is a coffee nut, so we were always looking for third-wave shops that could pull a cortado worthy of her scrutiny. This place certainly fit the bill, but I got excited when I saw muesli on the menu.

As with almost all the “muesli” I had in Scandinavia, this was actually a cooked, crunchy granola, as opposed to soft, uncooked muesli that soaks in milk or yogurt to soften. And it turns out that this granola didn’t even have oats in it.

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At Original Coffee in Copenhagen, they serve a rye-based granola with yogurt, fresh fruit and rhubarb compote. Photo by Addie Broyles.

I knew I was going to be writing about DIY granola and muesli when I got back to the U.S. (you can read that story in this week’s food section), so I’d been paying close attention to the different kinds of granola/muesli I had in each of the four cities we visited. Most of the stuff I had in Sweden was like the granola you’d buy in America: Lots of oats, dried fruit and nuts, maybe some coconut flakes.

This Original Coffee’s granola was unlike any I’ve ever had. It was made from rye breadcrumbs, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and honey. That’s it. No oil. No dried cranberries. No coconut flakes and, most interesting to me, no oats.

A few days after returning, I set out to try to recreate it in my own kitchen. I bought sliced rye bread, an ingredient I think I have literally never bought even once in my life, and turned it into crumbs with a food processor. I added a few squeezes of honey, turned the crumbs out on a parchment-lined baking sheet and baked them at about 300 degrees. Fifteen minutes in, I added pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds and a little more honey. After another 15 minutes in the oven, I was delighted to find that my knock-off granola had turned out pretty close to the real thing I had been enjoying just a few days before while sipping on a coffee next to a huge canal in one of the most beautiful European cities I’ve ever visited.

My view wasn’t quite as striking, but the granola put a smile on my face.

I made it again today with slices of rye that I’d let stale over the weekend, but the result was nearly the same, so use fresh or stale bread. And as with all granola recipes, feel free to tweak the ingredients to your liking. Agave nectar, sunflower seeds or flaxseeds would all be great additions to this dish.

This is my attempt to make Original Coffee's rye granola at home. It's not quite as crunchy or dense as the original, but it also doesn't have as many sesame seeds. Photo by Addie Broyles.

This is my attempt to make Original Coffee’s rye granola at home. It’s not quite as crunchy or dense as the original, but it also doesn’t have as many sesame seeds. Photo by Addie Broyles.

Rye Sesame Pumpkin Seed Granola

3 slices rye bread
3 Tbsp. honey, divided
1 Tbsp. sesame seeds
3 Tbsp. pumpkin seeds
Pinch salt

Heat the oven to 250 degrees. In a food processor, pulse the bread until it start to form breadcrumbs. Add 2 Tbsp. honey and pulse several more times until the bread is evenly crumbled.

Place a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet and spread the crumbs on top. Bake for 10 minutes and then stir. Bake again for another 5 minutes, stir again and then add the sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, a pinch or salt and final tablespoon of honey. Stir well and then bake for 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and taste the granola to see how crunchy the breadcrumbs have become. Bake for another 5-10 minutes, if desired. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 10 days.

— Addie Broyles


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