‘Bada duh duh duh duh duh duh, duh duh duh….’ When you read the title of this post, was the guitar riff from Neil Diamond’s Crunchy Granola Suite reverberating in your head? If not, why not? Listen to it here whilst you read this post.
A few weeks ago I visited an organic grocer in the next suburb. It has been there for a while but it’s not a road that we drive along very often so it’s taken a long time for me to get there. So many wonderful products! I was particularly impressed with the wide range available for people with specialists diets such as wheat and lactose free. After wandering along the aisles, examining labels and peering into dry goods bins, I only ended up buying one item. A bag of rolled oats. Not very glamorous but highly practical and very much in keeping with that hippy, wholesome vibe that the word ‘organic’ gives off.
I bought the oats because I had an idea to make some homemade granola or toasted muesli for the holiday season. I would use the oats as a base and use up some of the various bits and pieces hiding in my fridge and cupboard to jazz it up. So that’s just what I did, using a recipe from Nigella Lawson’s (#TeamNigella) as a base but went off piste to use what I had. You will see my substitutions and additions in brackets and note that some do not match the measures from the original recipe. I cut back on the syrups and honey as whilst I have a sweet tooth, I don’t like overly sweet breakfast cereal. It’s easier to add a little sugar when you eat it, than to take it out.
This is an easy recipe to prepare and is very forgiving. Just go with your instincts and get the kids involved by suggesting add ins or mixing the raw ingredients.
- 500g rolled oats – not instant or quick cook oats
- 120g sunflower seeds (I used pepitas)
- 120g sesame seeds (I used 30g sesame seeds & 50g desiccated coconut)
- 175g apple sauce (omitted as I had none and nothing similar)
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger (my addition)
- 120g brown rice syrup (I used a mix of agave nectar and golden syrup – 80g)
- 4 tbsp honey (I used 2 tbsp)
- 100g brown sugar (I used 50g)
- 250g raw almonds (I used a mix of almonds, macadamias and walnut pieces)
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp light flavoured oil such as sunflower or canola
- + I added 2 tbsp of crystallised ginger, chopped finely
- + I added a handful of dates, soaked in 1/4 cup water & chopped finely
- + I added the date water
- Add all dry ingredients to a large bowl and mix to distribute nuts, spices etc
- Add liquid ingredients to bowl and mix thoroughly. This can be done with a spoon but your hands in disposable gloves will do a better job of it.
- Spread the mixture onto a pair of baking trays. Don’t overcrowd the trays. If you have excess, hold it back to bake a second batch.
- Place in oven pre-heated to 170c (not fan forced) and cook for 20 minutes
- Remove from oven, stir mix with spoon to re-distribute and allow for even baking and cook for a further 20 – 30 minutes.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool. As the granola cools, it will become crunchy. If it needs a few more minutes to brown or crisp, return to the oven.
- Repeat with remaining. mixture.
- Store in an airtight jar. Serve as a cereal of streusal over a fruit salad or yoghurt.
- If you want to add sultanas, raisins or craisins to the mix, do it after you have baked the granola, otherwise they will burn.
- The higher the sugar content, the quicker the granola will brown. Watch the batch closely during that last 10 minutes of cooking time. The oats can brown quickly and no one likes burnt cereal!
- The apple sauce obviously plays a role in sweetening and texture but as I had none, I omitted it. The granola was just as tasty.