Happy New Year! Thanks for reading this, even though I don’t post as often as I’d like.
I had the idea of making granola as a Christmas gift for some friends and family. I wanted something that would be a bit of a treat, but not quite the guilty pleasure of cracker toffee. I read a few recipes and set out to make a toasty granola that would have lots of clusters, be a little but not too sweet and have plenty of nuts.
My Smitten Kitchen Cookbook has a recipe for Big Cluster Maple Granola that seemed like a good place to start. I was also inspired by Nigella Lawson and the olive oil granola she made on Simply Nigella with lots of seeds and nuts.
I fiddled around and made two batches, each slightly different than the other. I didn’t achieve the big clusters I was seeking, but I also didn’t follow Smitten Kitchen’s Deb Perelman’s recipe to the letter. I was kind of disappointed, but with the holiday hustle and bustle I just shrugged it off and went on to the next project. I didn’t have the time or energy to fiddle around with granola. I didn’t give away as much as I’d originally planned, but that was ok too.
In fact, I tossed the notes and didn’t have any photos of the granola. I wouldn’t be sharing it here now except my friend, Lisa, wrote to say it was some of the best granola she’d ever had! In my focusing on the lack of clusters, I hadn’t been paying as much attention to the flavor. She was right, it was really good granola. And, good news, I still had ingredients enough for another batch.
This recipe uses golden syrup: I’ve seen this ingredient mentioned in some British recipes but I’d never tried it. Than I happened to notice a bottle at Cost Plus World Market and decided to give it a try. It is an amber syrup that is made in the process of refining cane or sugar beets into sugar. It has a delicious sweet flavor that reminds me of toasted marshmallows and is worth seeking out. I’ve already gone back to purchase more. However, you can use maple syrup or honey instead.
Really Good Granola
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
3 cup rolled oats
1 cup nuts or combination nuts and seeds – I used whole and sliced almonds, pecans and pumpkin seeds for this batch. Walnuts and sunflower seeds would also be good choices.
1/2 to 1 cup unsweetened flaked or shredded coconut
1/4 cup chia and/or flax seeds – Trader Joe’s sells Ancient Grains Seed Mixture that has both of those as well as millet, buckwheat, hemp, quinoa and amaranth. I used this mixture. In the Smitten Kitchen recipe, she uses 1/4 cup of wheat germ here, so feel free to use that in place of the seeds. Maybe you will reach granola cluster nirvana if you do.
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 cup golden syrup – maple syrup or honey would also work, each adding a different flavor and level of sweetness. If you like it sweeter, go to 2/3 cup.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
1 large egg white
1 1/2 cup dried fruit such as cherries, cranberries, golden raisins, or goji berries
Instructions: Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Combine the oats, nuts, coconut, seeds, salt, olive oil, vanilla and golden syrup and toss together. Beat the egg white until foamy and combine with the mixture until coated.
Spread on a parchment covered rimmed baking sheet, and bake for about 50 minutes. Turn with a spatula about halfway through the baking for more even browning.
Granola will be moist while warm, but will become more crisp as it cools.
When cool, add dried fruit.
This is a delicious snack alone or I like it with coconut Greek yogurt. It is also a great bowl of cereal for breakfast.
Thanks for the visit.