Granola. Often associated with Veganism - 'the granola brigade' and all that. Quite honestly I think it's a compliment. I know the insinuation is really meant to be along the lines of bland, safe and boring but I just don't see it myself. Granola is one of the most exciting breakfasts I know of. Sweet. Crunchy. Chewy. Fabulous. I mean, I love a nice cooked breakfast now and again, yet, for me, granola holds more appeal because you need very little to transform a breakfast. A little goes a long way, which is a good thing because it isn't exactly fat free or low on the calorie count. The funny thing is most shop bought granola is sweetened with honey so not suitable for vegans. Although it is slowly getting better most vegans have to make their own granola if they want it in their life and that's totally fine by me. Let me tell you why. Honey is very strong and overpowering in flavour. It masks the natural taste of the granola or indeed any ingredient it comes into contact with. There are so many alternatives to honey anyway - agave nectar, maple syrup, sweet freedom, date syrup, brown rice syrup, malt syrup, the list goes on and on. You could also use sugar if you were so inclined but I try to limit my use of refined sugar where I can.
Making granola might seem like a scary thought. I actually singed my first batch by leaving it in the oven too long - I was following a recipe that told me to leave it in for 45mins. I checked it at 30 and thought it looked perfect but as I was trialling this following recipes to the letter melarkey I foolishly left it in for the extra 15 minutes - bad move! It was edible but with a definite burnt aftertaste. Seeing as I loathe waste though, I made sure we ate the lot before embarking on another batch. My future kids are going to love me!
I've been very cautious ever since to ensure my granola is just the right side of baked, so I give you my word that the timings and temperatures for this recipe have been a result of careful monitoring. In a nutshell, it works.
If you're looking for clump factor with your granola this particular recipe won't give you that. It's a preference thing. I like my granola to be perfectly crisp separate flakes. I can totally see the appeal of clusters but for my purposes this granola works better, as I feel it is a wee bit more versatile - sprinkle it in your soy yoghurt, on your oatmeal, mix it through some breakfast polenta, even use it as an ice-cream topper. This stuff is great.
Come on, join the granola brigade today!
1 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup raw almonds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup desiccated coconut
1/4 cup flaked almonds
1/4 cup sultanas
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp coconut oil
3 tsp agave nectar
1 heaped tsp malt syrup (rice)
1 tsp maple syrup
Pre-heat the oven to 175 degrees celsius/350 fahrenheit.
Put the oats in a baking tray and bake for 10mins.
Meanwhile roughly chop the raw almonds. Put the oil, agave, malt syrup and maple syrup into a pan and bring to the boil. Let it gently bubble away for a few minutes or until you remove the oats from the oven.
Remove the oats from the oven and stir in the cinnamon, chopped almonds, pumpkin seeds and desiccated coconut. Pour in the syrup mixture and thoroughly combine - I like to use two rubber spatulas, as you can incorporate it easier this way. Return to oven and bake for a further 20 minutes.
Check the granola at 10mins and give it a stir. Remove it after the full 20mins and stir in the flaked almonds. Return the granola to the oven for a final 10mins.
Take it out of the oven, give it another stir and allow to cool completely before stirring in the sultanas. Store in an airtight container. I don't know how long it will keep for because it's eaten in flash at my gaff.
You can find all the supplies you need for this recipe at Healthy Supplies - a super online store that is very competitively priced. They even sell the elusive umeboshi plums!