I haven’t made granola before – I find it too sweet for an everyday breakfast. Then again I might not be the best judge – I do pick sultanas (raisins) out of my Sultana Bran (raisin bran) when it gets to the bottom and there would be more than two in a spoonful. However, this recipe that our lovely friend Leanne posted on her fantastic blog The Shortlists (no less than the very source of the recipe for my wedding cake) really caught my eye.
We have (finally) moved into our new London flat, and I intend to fill the cupboards of our kitchen with exotic ingredients and home-made food. So I have been looking for recipes that I can make in large quantities and store easily in the pantry. One point for granola. Furthermore, this recipe did not look like it was going to be sickly-sweet, and it did include a reasonably large proportion of toasted nuts. This actually sounded pretty good. Score two granola.
But the real thing that motivated me to try this recipe was that it is just so healthy. Not merely healthy in an obvious way like a meal full of vegetables is, but healthy in a health-food store kind of way. It is packed with ingredients that I associate with hippies. Wheat germ? Flax seeds? Adding extra bran to a high fibre meal when you are under the age of 70? I don’t care if granola is normally associated with hippies – this is the real hippie granola. Full of the kinds of things you would only force yourself to eat if you were concerned with your deep, inner health. After months of celebratory food and drinks, I needed something really healthy to get me back on track.
All this said, it turns out this is really, really delicious granola. So delicious that last night we actually had some with yoghurt and honey for dessert. I thought the quantity I made would last us much longer than a month, but now I am not so sure.
1 1/2 cups very roughly chopped almonds
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup unsweetened desiccated (shredded) coconut
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup bran
1/3 cup sunflower oil
1/3 cup of honey (omit if you are vegan, or alternatively, and I am so excited about trying this next time, substitute golden syrup for the honey and maple syrup)
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 vanilla pod (or a tablespoon of vanilla extract)
1/4 cup water
Preheat oven to 150°C (300°F) and make sure that your oven rack is in the centre of the oven to reduce the risk of burning.
Mix together all the dry ingredients (not including the fruit) in a very large bowl, and put to one side.
Line a baking tray with parchment paper, and spread the granola on top of it. This quantity took up about three large baking trays. However, I recommend that you bake in batches – granola burns very easily (some of mine burnt quite quickly and I ended up having to throw it out), so you want to keep a very close eye on it while it is baking. If it is getting much darker around the edges than the middle, take out of the oven and stir the darker bits into the middle, and the lighter bits to the sides periodically. Bake for around 30 minutes (if you are having trouble with burning it is ok to take it out a little early as I did with my first batch).
Allow granola to cool before adding it to a large bowl and stirring in the dried fruit.
Store in an airtight container (we have two large jars of granola on our breakfast cereal shelf and it looks beautiful). I suggest serving with natural yoghurt, and a little bit of honey. This combination would also be pretty wonderful with some sliced banana or berries. You can spend the rest of the day feeling healthy and virtuous, while knowing that what you had for breakfast would also make a pretty delicious dessert.