Granola formula

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This is not so much a New Year’s resolution as an endeavour at winter cleaning the cupboard. Though perhaps it should be? Granola is easy to make — much simpler, for example, than a marmalade marathon — and quite satisfying. Unfortunately, the children consume so much granola, it would be near impossible to keep up a homemade production, but I do make it once in a while, often as a way to use up the ends of packets of nuts and seeds and dried fruit, particularly after the holidays.

Since in this house that is its calling, I’ve been using Chocolate & Zucchini’s granola formula, which is so smart and makes much more sense than a rigid recipe. I’ve adapted and simplified the quantities slightly, so it’s easier to remember. The idea is that granola combines a few families of ingredients — grains, nuts and seeds, dried fruit, oil, sweetener — and within these families the possibilities are endless.

Granola formula, inspired by and adapted from Chocolate & Zucchini

The idea is that granola is made up of a few families of ingredients — grains, nuts and seeds, dried fruit, oil, and sweetener — and within these families the possibilities are endless, so the ingredients listed within each category are for inspiration only.

Ingredients:
300 g mixed rolled grains (also referred to as flakes): oats, spelt, millet, rye, quinoa, amaranth…

200 g mixed roughly chopped nuts and seeds: almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans, pistachios, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds…

3 Tbsps oil: olive oil, rapeseed oil, sunflower seed oil, coconut oil… (plus a little for greasing the pan)

6 Tbsps liquid sweetener: honey, maple syrup, date syrup…

1 tsp sea salt

Optional add-ins:
2 handfuls chopped dried fruit: raisins, apricots, dates, figs, cranberries…

A handful each coconut flakes, chia seeds, puffed amaranth…

5 Tbsps ground flaxseeds, soaked in 5 Tbsps water for 15 minutes

1 tsp ground spices: cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, Christmas spice mix…

Method:
Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F) while preparing the ingredients (the oven doesn’t have to have reached the desired temperature before putting the granola inside).

In a large bowl, combine the grains, nuts and seeds, oil, sweetener, and sea salt with a fork or better still by hand, to ensure the ingredients are well coated and mixed together.

If using, add and mix in any additional ingredients, apart from the dried fruit which goes in at the end of the baking time.

Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet or oven tray. Spread the prepared granola mixture evenly on the tray, and slide into the oven.

Bake for about 30 minutes, stirring regularly every 10 minutes to ensure the granola toasts evenly, until it achieves the desired shade of brown.

About 10 minutes before the end, add the dried fruit. ** The fruit can also be added once the granola is out of the oven, but I like it to be warmed through so it becomes a bit chewy.**

Let the granola cool completely — it will become crisp as it cools — then transfer and store in a lidded glass jar.

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