Nuts about cereal? Bananas for granola? This is one for you then – breakfast with an extra crunch!
How do you like your cereal?
Do you prefer the soft flakes of muesli, with only an occasional crunch of a nut and a squidge of a raisin? Soft oats made softer by soaking in milk or yoghurt overnight? Or do you go for the crispy, the crunchy, the frosted and the toasted? Are you the creamy tribe or the chunky posse? Is yours the mush or the clusters option?
This time, it’s the ultimate crunch for breakfast. To all those who double-toast their granola and call an evidently burnt toast ‘browned’. Folk like The Weather Man whose middle name should be ‘Crispy’. Who eat their cereal dry or throw corn flakes into their milk one at a time, so it barely hits the liquid before being spooned out.
This is crispy, crunchy, toasted, clustered granola.
How is that magic done?
With a mashed banana, that’s how.
I was intrigued having first seen Jerrelle Guy’s recipe in NY Times, but the first attempt left me nonplussed. The clusters were more chewy than crunchy, and they went completely squidgy after being boxed up. Not a good result in something I was prepared to be risking my molars for.
And I seriously dislike coconut oil (prescribed in the original recipe) and all it stands for. There weren’t enough nuts or cinnamon and the whole thing tasted of nothing much at all, not even of banana.
Down with the sugar amount I started, then I swapped the coconut oil for groundnut oil plus a little butter (when something’s a bit meh, add butter). I doubled the cinnamon, added more nuts, mixed this time; and just barely warmed up the banana with oil and sugar just so the sugar dissolved.
Still I doubt it’s even necessary – Jerrelle tells us to cook the mix for several minutes which makes only the difference of a pan impossible to wash.
The toasting/baking time needs to be longer too but watch it so the granola doesn’t burn – it will want to very much during the second baking stage. And then ideally you should serve it and eat it straight away because it doesn’t keep crunchy for long. But are you really going to go to so much trouble before breakfast? I thought not.
Triple cooked granola
In the end, to preserve the crunch, I toasted it for the third time. Which made the clusters delicious but slightly too much hassle for a tub of cereal.
But to be honest, I am of the squidgy, chewy, creamy and soft breakfast orientation. So what do I know about clusters?