And Then There Was Granola…

I have a love-hate relationship with granola, although it’s mainly love. It is delicious, crunchy, sweet, so much better than flat & soft muesli (I won’t even get started on oatmeal, I just can’t do it…), and more interesting than cornflakes.

And the hate part? Well, I want it to be healthy so badly, that I still get annoyed when i read another story about how “unhealthy” it is, with all the added sugars, the carbs, the calories, blah, blah…On top of that, it is usually more expensive than other breakfast grains. Actually, this was much more the case in the US, where I found it almost impossible to find a reasonably priced granola, even though I went to supermarkets where they had at least an entire aisle dedicated to cereals (which always made me long for simpler days with less choice, but that’s a story for another day).

Healthy, smealthy, I decided: I like granola, I usually add some fruit to my yoghurt, and it’s not like I’m eating the entire pack at once.  Now, i’m honestly not sure if homemade granola is actually “healthier” than store bought, but knowing exactly what goes in it has to count for something, right? Second, I’m also not sure if it is actually cheaper, although I expect that it is. The main ingredient for this one is simple rolled oats, which are quite cheap, and with one pack, I make two batches (each one lasting us (me and the boyfriend) about a week if we eat a bowl a day each). The other ingredients (oil, sugar, honey/sirup, nuts, and additional treats like chocolate or cocos) are usually items I have in stock. Then again, you do have to put the stuff in the oven for about 30-40 minutes, which uses energy, of course.

Is Dark Roast Ok?

Is Dark Roast Ok?

This is my ongoing internal struggle with home-made vs store-bought, leaving out the joy of making it myself. And it has to be said that  joy doesn’t always equal delicious (or even edible) results, as this first batch of charred granola shows (note to self and others: don’t put the granola in the very top rack of your oven, especially not when using regular heat…)

The second time around, I managed to create a batch of granola that wasn’t extra caramilized, or as we like to call it, smokey. This time, I added cocos and vanilla extract to the regular recipe. There are of course a thousand variations you can make, adding ingredients you love, leaving out the ones you don’t.

Granola Jar

I got the basic recipe from a friend, but tweaked it a bit, and reduced the amounts so that one batch fits into my granola-designated jar.

 

Gra-NO-la, Gra-YES-la

Enough for one big jar, about 4-5 cups
  • 2 cups (roughly 250 gr.) rolled oats
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (almonds are good, but hazelnuts or cashews would work great too, or a mix)
  • 1/4 cup maple sirup (or honey/other sirup)
  • 1/4 cup (or a bit less) brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon (mixed it up by adding/substituting some nutmeg/ginger/cardamom)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • Optional: coco (finely grated or bigger chunks) chocolate chips, raisins, other dried fruits.
  1. Preheat the oven to 150C/350F.
  2. Mix the maple sirup, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt together.
  3. Add the oil while whisking.
  4. Add the oats, nuts, and any other ingredients you add and mix well. (If you add other ingredients, consider cutting down on the oats/nuts to prevent the mixture from getting to dry. Also, consider if you want to bake them with the granola. I would say that chocolate chips and raisins might be better added after you baked the granola. I did add the cocos which came out nice and crunchy.)
  5. Spread out in a thin layer on a baking sheet.
  6. Bake for about 30-40 minutes in the top half (but NOT the highest rack) of the oven.
  7. Let cool for about an hour before breaking into pieces/crumb.
  8. Great for breakfast with yoghurt or milk, or as a snack (or as emergency ration if you ran out of cookies but NEED something to munch on. That happens, you know.)
  9. Enjoy!
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