Magical is the byword for just about everything at this remote and luxurious Colorado getaway, including their “Damn Good” Granola.
It just about killed me when I had to hand an assignment to cover Dunton Hot Springs outside of Telluride to one of C&I’s regular contributors. The property has been on my personal bucket list since I first read about it years ago.
But there’s never been a right time for me to go. There was a son to raise and homeschool in a single-mom household, a bunch of rescue animals to care for (and not enough money to board them), and a mother in declining health to help and visit more by the day.
So when a great opportunity came up at the magazine to have a journalist head for the hot springs and I couldn’t free myself up, I did the next best thing: I called one of my favorite contributors, Ellise Pierce.
We’ve traveled together several times, and I can tell you from firsthand experience: She’s a picky one. She’ll politely send food back if it’s not up-to-snuff and call the front desk if something’s off in her room.
Her standards are high for good reason: She’s traveled the world, stayed in the best and most interesting places, eaten the finest and most delicious food. She lived for years in Paris and is a chef in her own right.
So she was the ideal person for the assignment. But what if something went south? What if the place wasn’t all it was cracked up to be? What if Ellise didn’t like it?
No such problem, as you can read for yourself in the story about her trip to Dunton Hot Springs in our April issue.
I’ll admit to going just a little green with envy when Ellise told me all about her trip and when I edited her recounting of it. But we’ve promised ourselves a gals’ getaway to Dunton in the future.
For the time being, I’ll have to content myself with the great story — and also with the recipe for Dunton’s “Damn Good” Granola, which Ellise raved about.
The wonderful cabins, glamping tents and tepees, riverbank rockers, mountain hikes, forest meditations, hot-springs soaks, fabulous food, campfire nights — it all continues to call my name.
Until I can answer, I’ll just grab another handful of this magical granola and wait for my Western stars to align.
Dunton Hot Springs “Damn Good” Granola
(Makes A Lot)
12 cups rolled oats
1½ cups grapeseed oil
4 cups pumpkin seeds
1½ cups honey
2 cups sunflower seeds
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups sesame seeds
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups almonds
2 cups maple syrup
2 cups shredded coconut
2 cups buckwheat groats
2cups flax seeds
2 cups cashews, chopped
2 cups pecan pieces
Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
In a small sauce pan, warm oil, honey, and salt until thin and runny; then add vanilla. In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients before adding warmed honey oil. Lay out on sheet pans, spread thin, and to toast the granola. Check every 15 minutes to scrape down and turn pan in.
Once the granola is the desired color, add in the maple. Return the granola to the oven until it is golden. This should take about 45 minutes to an hour. When the mix is evenly golden brown, shut off the oven and open the door for 10 minutes to let it cool. Then close the oven and let the granola cool inside overnight. This gently dries the granola to give it a good crunch.
In the morning, using the metal spatula, break the granola into small pieces and transfer to a properly covered container. The granola will last about 2 weeks.
This recipe is flexible; if you are short on a particular nut or grain, make up the difference with the others. Increasing the amount of the honey and/or the maple syrup will yield a more tightly bound granola.
Recipe courtesy Dunton Hot Springs. For more on this destination, visit their website.