I will say this- there is nothing like homemade granola.
I always bought granola. I thought there is really no point in making your own if you can buy it, and it tastes good. Right? And it’s a hassle to make it. I really could not see any benefits of making your own. And then I quit processed sugar. I couldn’t really find granola that would suit my new dietary requirement. Meaning, there is added sugar in everything now. If you think store-bought granola is healthy, then think again. And start reading product ingredient list. It will give you nightmares, that’s for sure. So in the end, I stopped eating granola. For quite a while in fact. I couldn’t find a brand that would be healthy. I was still thinking it’s too much hassle to make your own. So I stopped eating it. Just like that. And it turned out I was really missing out. Big time.
So what changed? Granola craving hit me. All of a sudden this is what I wanted for breakfast. I have no idea where that came from. But it had to be addressed. And quickly. Because it was all I could think about. I am quite weird in that department. I don’t have, I need to buy those shoes immediately, moments. I have, I really want to eat this food now, moments. In this particular case granola moment. I guess I was after the crunchy, toasted taste of granola. Since I couldn’t just buy granola, the only solution was to make it.
I always have loads of nuts and seeds and dried fruit in my cupboard. And oats. I buy big bags and store them in my massive pantry cupboard bought for this exact purpose. I like to be well stocked for when a recipe idea hits me and I have to try it. Or for those more mundane moments when I am just plain hungry. Nuts, seeds, fruit and oats can be stored for quite a while so in my opinion it’s always good to have these in your pantry.
I read few granola recipes. Had a think. Mainly about what oil I would like to use and what binder. Usually, it’s honey or maple syrup. I don’t have these at all. I didn’t really want to use them anyway. So my usual go to sweeteners were used – dates and prunes. In the end, sugar is sugar. No matter what you use you have to be aware you are eating sugar and it has its’ consequences. That’s why I tend to go for dried fruit. The most natural form of sugar there is, with added bonus of nutrients and fiber.
I made the granola. For the first time. And I never looked back! I make it very often now. Why? It turned out it is very easy to put together. The smell of granola being baked is the best thing ever. It hits you like a delicious breeze you can almost taste and it fills your house immediately. I really don’t mind my house smelling like granola. I will take that any day over any air freshener. And the taste. Oh, my. Store bought stuff does not do granola justice. Seriously. It’s crunchy, toasty and delicious. When the trays of granola emerged from the oven we started munching straight away. And we couldn’t stop it was so good. First two jars disappeared in no time. So I made another batch. And another. And it continues to this day. Guys, I encourage you to make your own. Don’t be missing out like I was.
One thing I have to admit is I totally forgot to add fruit to the granola first time I made it. It was so good I just put it in the jar and we ate it as it was. I realised mid second jar. I contemplated this for a second and just waved my hand. And this is the way I’m making it since. Without the fruit. Of course, you don’t have to go our way. It’s about what you like, your perfect granola combination. Raisins are good and dates, dried apricots as well. It’s the same with the nuts and seeds you use. Find the combos you like. Change them around with the next batch. Make the granola your own.
Make sure you read the recipe notes for perfect granola tips. The only thing to do now is making your own.
Fuel Your Body, Charge Your Day
- 3 cups of oats
- 1 cup of almonds
- ½ cup brazil nuts
- ½ cup hazelnuts
- ½ cup flaxseeds
- ½ cup pumpkin seeds
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons of coconut oil
- 7 dried prunes
- 7 dried dates
- approx 9 tablespoons of water
- 1 cup of raisins or chopped dates or chopped dried apricots (optional)
- Microwave prunes and dates with the water in a closed container for 1-2 minutes. You want water to get hot and start softening the fruit. Keep the container closed so the fruit can steam and set aside.
- Add almonds, brazil nuts and hazelnuts to food processor and blitz until nuts are chopped into the size you like. I prefer part of the nuts to be in big chunks and rest as nutty rubble.
- Mix oats, blitzed nuts, flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, salt and cinnamon in a bowl.
- Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius / 356 degrees Fahrenheit fan
- Mash steamed fruit with the steaming water with a fork, add coconut oil. Fruit should be still warm enough to melt the coconut oil. If not, microwave for few seconds to melt the coconut oil.
- Combine oil with mashed fruit. If paste is too thick add some water.
- Pour fruit/oil mixture into the bowl and mix until well combined.
- Spread the mixture on 2 trays.
- Bake for approx 20-25 minutes, stirring once or twice during the baking to get all the granola crispy.
- Cool the granola completely to add dried fruit if using.
* Don’t bake fruit with the granola. Fruit will burn and turn bitter. Add them to the cooled granola (or forget about them as I did. It’s delicious on its own as well.)
* The crucial part is not to over crispify the granola. When you think the granola is almost done take it out of the oven. Granola will keep getting crisp as it cools. If you take it out when it’s perfect it will be too toasted and dry by the time you get to eat it.
* Sub the mashed fruit mixture for 3 tablespoons of maple syrup or honey if you prefer.
* You can bake the granola in one deeper dish. Baking time will increase to 35-40 minutes and you will need to stir the granola more often during the baking to make sure all of the mixture is nicely toasted.