Homemade granola is simple to make and I swear it’s cheaper than shop-bought. Once I’ve made a batch of this it lasts me for at least a week and how many of those tiny little boxes of granola at £5 a pop last that long?
One thing I can promise is that this recipe is far more delicious than any shop-bought kind. Granola is basically oats, seeds and nuts coated in something sweet and oily, then roasted and bulked out with extra bits and bobs. A lot of mass-produced granola is rammed with sugar and some varieties use palm oil. Personally, I’d much rather be eating a natural sweetener ‘with benefits’ like honey or agave nectar and a nut or seed oil.
My version has a nutty, toasted flavour and its sweetness is thanks entirely to honey, which I love. When I was little, I would sit happy as a clam with a jar of set honey and a spoon, much like Winnie the Pooh. It’s also quick to make and keeps very well in sealed tupperware.
It has a nutty, toasted flavour and sweetness thanks entirely to honey.
The basis of this recipe is the Leon Granola on page 142 of the first Leon cookbook, by Allegra McEvedy. BUT, I hasten to add, I have adapted the recipe to make it my own and would urge you to do the same. Use whatever is in your cupboard or whatever you fancy eating – Allegra’s version contains bran, which I’ve always swerved.
Apart from the oats, honey and oil I wouldn’t get too hung up on quantities either. It’s a great way to use up opened bags of nuts, seeds and dried fruit. I guess the main thing to take from my recipe, below, is the timings and basic method. All the rest is up to you. Happy Breakfast Time.
Ingredients: (makes upwards of 1kg = a lot)
150 g (5 oz) honey
60 ml groundnut oil (or a mixture of nut or seed oils – I like to use walnut oil)
250 g (9 oz) rolled oats (the large flat type for porridge, not Ready Brek)
150 g (5 oz) seeds
100 g (4 oz) nuts
150 g (5 oz) soft dates (I’ve found some are softer than others. You want soft. Soft.)
Approx 200 g (8 zoz) dried fruit of any kind (e.g. dried apricots, sultanas etc.)
First things first:
You’ll need a large baking tray with raised sides, so the granola doesn’t all slide off. I use a large roasting tin. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade/350 degrees fahrenheit/gas mark 4.
Step One: A Note on Nuts
Your nuts need to be toasted. Trust me, nuts that aren’t won’t have the same crunch or flavour. My favourites are macadamias (when I’m feeling rich), whole almonds or hazelnuts. I also use up bags of slivered almonds hanging around my cupboard, as they seem to do. Pop them in the pre-heated oven in a single layer for 10-15 minutes (slivered almonds take less time) and stir halfway through, then leave to cool. You could always roast the nuts while your granola is in the oven.
Step Two: Honey and Oil
Weigh out the honey and measure your oil. (I find a spatula, as per my pink example below, a useful tool for this.) Put both ingredients into a small pan and heat gently until the honey has melted to a liquid consistency, without simmering.
Step Three: Oats and Seeds
Weigh the oats and seeds into a mixing bowl and pour in the melted oil and honey. Sunflower seeds work well, as does a mixed bag; I’ve even used up a bag of sesame seeds. Mix well. Spread out in your roasting tin.
Step Four: Roast
Roast the oat and seed mixture in the oven for about 25 minutes, turning everything over four or five times. The first couple of times you’ll think it looks a bit mushy, but as the granola roasts it will dry and start to smell wonderful.
Step Five: Chop, cool and combine
Take the granola out of the oven and leave it to cool. Meanwhile, chop the dates and whatever extras you’ve decided to add. For this particular batch, I had lots of raisins spare and half of bar of Green & Black’s Burnt Toffee dark chocolate, so the batch ended up looking a bit dark and moody. Apt for such a cold March.
Once the granola is totally cool, break it up, ideally, without spraying everywhere – it will have hardened together a bit. Add the chopped bits and hey presto, you have enough granola to keep you in breakfasts for a while. Store in sealed tupperware so it stays crunchy. This granola is really filling, so you won’t need lots and I like to add yoghurt and soft fruit or fruit compote.
I hope you like it. AmJam.