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granola

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Homemade granola is easy. Homemade granola is healthy. Homemade granola has just the ingredients you want in it and the flavour you like. It’s cheaper than any supermarket cereal. In fact there is absolutely no reason NOT to make it right now.

homemade granola cuisinefiend.com

The benefits of making your own granola - hmm, where to start? Let me begin with how it went with me, hopefully not at all a unique cereal consumer. I started off with muesli, going through many brands and chucking out many a hardly started box. Far too sweet. Not sweet enough. Disgusting weird seeds mixed in. Far fewer fat golden raisins than the packaging promised. Shocking amount of sugar added. Tasteless and bland. Tooth-breaking unidentified elements included. Basically - oat dust. As soon as I finally found a decent brand, they discontinued it.

Then I moved onto granola territory, probably enticed by TV adverts (clusters… those crunchy clusters…). Guess what: the history repeated itself with added emphasis on TOO MUCH SUGAR in addition to every other flaw. Make your own seemed like a no-brainer solution.

healthy granola cuisinefiend.com

If you make it yourself, quite simply, you control what goes in it, how toasted or not you want it, what fruit, nut and seed content and what flavour it is going to be. That incidentally is the same as the general principle of home cooking: you’re in control of what’s on your plate which is significant for all aspects of healthy diet, weight loss or allergies. The added beauty of making granola at home is that you can have a different kind every week or even make small batches for every member of the family, if they’re fussy and you’re generous.

Need ideas? For flavour, try cinnamon, cocoa, vanilla, mixed spice or ginger. For the liquid mix, it might be maple syrup as below but also honey, lightly beaten egg white with brown sugar, salt and tinned caramel (dulce de leche) or fruit syrup. As far as the add-ons go, the store cupboard is your oyster. Go decadent and add a mix of everything you have there plus chocolate chips. Minimalist: just nuts. Banana and coconut chips. Freeze dried fruit. Chopped up fudge. Those fancy hipster super-powders.

make your own granola cuisinefiend.com

And your homemade granola will cost you about half as much as any half-decent branded box.

The difficulty of making it lies purely in not letting it burn; no other skills are required.

The danger of making it lies in the fact that it’s too, too good.

Who has never prowled around the kitchen at midnight with craving pains, half-cautious not to snack on anything too catastrophic, like a Mars bar or half the leftover chicken pie; to triumphantly raid the cereal box and scoff it dry straight from the box? (no? y’all weird) So now the real challenge will be when to stop with this homemade granola.

The recipe below is my favourite, simple flavour combination but as I suggested earlier, bespoke granola is yours for the making.

granola

Servings: 20-24Time: about 45 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 130g maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp. runny honey
  • 2 tbsp. sunflower or groundnut oil
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 400g jumbo rolled oats
  • 30g pumpkin seeds
  • 30g sunflower seeds
  • 80g almond flakes or mixed almonds and nuts, chopped
  • 130g mixed dried fruit: raisins, sultanas, cherries, chopped apricots, dates, cranberries, blueberries,


METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/gas 3. Line a deep large baking tray with parchment.

2. In a big bowl mix well the liquid ingredients with cinnamon. Tip in the oats, seeds, almonds/nuts and mix well so the oats are thoroughly coated.

3. Spread the oat mix over the tray and bake for 35-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pale golden and as crunchy as you like them.

granola cuisinefiend.com

4. Place the dried fruit mix in the same bowl you mixed the oats in. Let the granola cool on the tray for 10 minutes and pour it into the bowl. Mix very well, breaking up any clumped up fruit.

5. Leave it to cool completely in the bowl before transferring to a tub or jar.

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