Home-made Granola

This homemade granola recipe is more tasty than any store-bought granola I’ve ever eaten and I have eaten quite a few. My favourite breakfast is granola with fresh fruit and yoghurt. This recipe is more healthy, since it’s made with whole grains, unrefined oil and naturally sweetened. The smell of freshly baked granola packed with delicious ingredients is sure way to wake up your inner senses. Best of all this granite stays crispy and fresh when stored in the freezer. A big help in eating healthy. Just pull it out and pour.

There are some basic ingredients required to make a granola. I am going to break them down in groups.

Old-fashioned oats: Heart-healthy, hearty, chewy oats keep their shape during baking. If you cannot find them substitute for quick oats.

Nuts and/or seeds: I used walnuts, cashew, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and pepitas (green pumpkin seeds). Other options include pecans, whole or slivered almonds, peanuts, pistachios and poppy seeds.

Healthy fats: Oil helps make this granola crisp and irresistible. I have used olive oil, it gives the granola a savoury edge. Many recipes that I read recommend using to unrefined coconut oil, which is said to be delicious and produce the perfect texture.

Natural sweetener: I love using real maple syrup in my granola. Honey works great and date syrup is also a good option. When using date syrup know that it’s not as sweet as honey or maple syrup. I often use a blend of all three as the dates give iron, honey adds the sweetness and maple syrup has this lovely aroma.

Salt and spice: Salt is absolutely necessary for a flavorful granola! I add cinnamon and ground ginger as it has an enchanting warm aroma when baked.

Dried fruit: I used dried cranberries. Other options could be dried cherries, apricots, dried mangoes, and my all time favourite dates. I love dried fruit, just add whatever you have in your cupboard. Dried fruit is added when granola is out of oven and has cooled down substantially.

Other (optional) mix-ins: You can add chocolate chips only after the granola has completely cooled (they’ll melt). If you’d like to add coconut, you can add it halfway through baking for perfectly toasted coconut (see recipe note).

INGREDIENTS

4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1 1/2 cup raw nuts and/or seeds (I used walnuts, cashew, sun flower, sesame seed and ½ cup pepitas)

1 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup maple syrup or honey or date syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2/3 cup dried fruit, (I used dried cranberries)

1/4 cup coconut flakes

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a mixing bowl, combine the oats, nuts and/or seeds, salt, ground ginger and cinnamon. Stir to blend.

2. Pour in the oil, maple syrup and/or honey and/or date syrup and vanilla.Mix well, until every oat and nut is lightly coated. Pour the granola onto your prepared pan and spread it in an even layer. Bake until golden, about 21 to 23 minutes, stirring halfway. The granola will further crisp up as it cools.

3. Let the granola cool completely, undisturbed, before breaking it into pieces and stirring in the dried fruit (and totally optional chocolate chips).

4. Store the granola in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 to 2 weeks if you have good weather but if you live in a hot humid city simply place in a sealed ziplock bag in the freezer for up to 3 months.

NOTES

If using coconut flakes (which I have used) – Stir the coconut flakes into the granola halfway through baking. They’ll get nice and toasty that way.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS: This granola is awesome with milk or yogurt and fresh fruit. It can also be added to your salad for an extra flavour and crunch.

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