I've been um-ming and ah-ing about whether to make granola, or to bake chewy oaty fruity cookies. Yeah. All these choices one must face in one's lifetime. *deep breath and looong sigh*
I finally chose granola. This is despite not being a granola lover in the past. In fact, I've had pretty tasteless and super chewy (in a bad way) granola in the past and it had put me off buying it until a year ago. I was in an organic shop and one of the ladies working there cornered me - yep, cornered me. It's the only word that'll describe what happened. All I was doing was checking out the cereal aisle when she saw an opportunity, and pounced. I might as well have been a gazelle in the Serengeti and she a lioness out on a hunt!
I watch FAR to much Animal Planet. How the hell did I even get here...
Back to granola. So this lady, she picks up a bag of granola and I wrinkled my nose and started to protest. But no. She was having none of it. She produces some for tasting (like from no where!) and started to rave about the granola. Seriously, I've not heard anyone rave about granola like this. So what can I do, right? I gingerly tried one and then WHAM! Yup. I was like 'wow' and she was like 'told you so'.
And then I parted with $17 for a 350g bag of granola. Sucker that I am. Yes, it was organic. And yes it was gourmet granola. But on hindsight, $17 for that much (or little) of granola is a bit of a rob.
So back again to why I chose to make granola. (Is she ever going to get there, you ask)!
I snack a lot throughout the day. Even an hour to dinner and I'll be having a snack. You know, the kind that tides you over whilst you're cooking. We'd normally have some chocolate of some sort at home for 'afters' as well. So I wanted to make something that was a double whammy - to serve as dessert/afters and a snack. I also wanted something healthy-ish (healthy-ish is the best I can do) and not break the bank, especially in these lean times. I also wanted to make something that would last for more than 3 days. And granola seem to tick all the boxes.
I found a few granola recipes and zeroed them down to two that I liked from Shutterbean and Hungry Girl Porvida. Decided on one of them as a base recipe and adapted it to my taste. I wanted a granola packed with nuts and fruits.
The granola pre-bake isn't much to look at. But I tell ya, as it bakes, you get these gorgeous smells wafting through the house and it deepens to this beautiful bronze.
This granola is sooo easy to make. It's one of those 'everything goes into a big bowl and mix' kinda recipe. But you do need to pull the tray out from the oven every 10 minutes to mix it around until the mixture is gloriously golden and sticky.
You. Will. Love. Them.
Adapted from a recipe from Shutterbean
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1 cup almonds, roughly chopped
1/2 cup peanuts, roughly chopped
1 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cardamon
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
3/4 cup mixed dried fruit - cranberries, currants and sultanas
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup rice bran oil (or you can extra virgin olive oil)
3/4 cup manuka honey
3/4 cup manuka honey
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
- Preheat oven to 150C / 300F. Line a couple of large baking trays with baking paper - you don't have to line your baking tray if you don't want to, but it saves cleaning your trays which is why I do it.
- Except for the dried fruits, combine all the other ingredients into a large bowl and mix well.
- Spread the granola mixture out onto the trays in an even layer.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes, stirring the granola around every 10 minutes. Stir in the dried fruit when you've got 20 minutes more baking time before the end.
- Your granola is ready when it's all golden and sticky.
- Cool the granola in the trays completely before breaking them up and storing them into airtight jars/containers.
- Chomp away!
Next time, I think I'll add some dark chocolate bits. Mmm...