GRANOLA

My latest discovery is homemade granola. Strangely, I’d never really thought about making my own; why make the effort when it’s readily available in the shops? After a little experimenting, I’ve come up with a recipe that makes the shop-bought versions look woefully lacking (or should I say overloaded with unhelpful stuff). It’s crunchy, flavoursome, toasty, fresh, and the best part about it is that it’s healthy! No refined sugar, artificial preservatives, processed fats, just pure good food.


Recipe for granola – makes 1kg

Ingredients:

200g mixed nuts: My favourites are hazelnuts, almonds and pecans, but you can also use walnuts, cashews, pistachios, peanuts and macadamias.

100g mixed seeds: I like to use chia, flax, sesame, sunflower and pumpkin.

75g unsweetened desiccated coconut

500g oats (jumbo oats here please, not instant or quick-cook, use gluten-free if necessary)

1 teaspoon mixed spice

2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp salt

5 tbsp runny honey or maple syrup

5 tbsp coconut or rapeseed oil

5 tbsp nut butter: I like almond butter, but you can also use peanut, cashew, hazelnut and tahini (sunflower seeds, great for nut allergy sufferers)

250g dried fruit: My favourites are apricots, cranberries, raisins, cherries and sultanas, but you can also use figs, dates, and goji berries.


Method:

1.Preheat oven to 180ºC and line two large baking trays with greaseproof paper.

2. Coarsely pulse the nuts in a food processor, if you don’t have one, simply place in a bag and bash with a rolling-pin, or chop with a knife.

3. Bruise the seeds in a pestle and mortar, this opens up the shell, aiding digestion. Together with the bashed nuts, dump the seeds, desiccated coconut, oats, mixed spice, cinnamon and salt into a large bowl. Mix briefly, until everything’s combined.

4. Melt the coconut oil (if using), and add it into the bowl with the honey and nut/seed butter of choice. Thoroughly stir everything together until every morsel is coated with sticky goodness.

5. Pour the mixture onto the pre-lined baking trays (mine were about A3 size), and squish down to compact.

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6. Bake for 10 minutes (give or take 2-3  mins) stirring half way through, until the top is a deep golden brown. Once baked take out and DO NOT TOUCH until cooled. Whilst cooling it will thoroughly dry out which means maximum clumps!

7. Leave for 20 mins on the tray or until completely cool. I like to make this in the evening and leave it to cool overnight, with a teatowel draped over the top. Once cool, chop up any larger pieces of fruit until everything’s about the size of a sultana and mix into the granola. You may need to use your spoon to hammer away at any larger pieces.

8. Pour the finished granola into an airtight container. Making a big batch like this is ideal, as it lasts for longer. Simply portion it out whenever. I like to have mine in the morning with milk, yogurt and fresh fruit. Delish!

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