Making granola at home is one of the easiest ways to get that smug domestic goddess glow. I’ve even gotten the recipe wrong and still got the glow, it’s that accommodating. This is a very healthy granola but doesn’t compromise on taste or sweetness: the sugar used in the recipe is low in proportion to the other ingredients.
This recipe can be flexed in several ways: the proportion of nuts to oats; the proportion of nuts to seeds; the types of seeds and nuts you use; the types of dried fruit you use; the level of sweetness from amount of maple syrup (you can omit altogether if you like, but I’ve tried both and I promise the maple version is tastier); whether you grind it after toasting or keep it whole (I like a rough grind because it mixes up the nuts and fruits more). The one thing you must do for success, though, is to toast the nuts and oats in the oven for at least 35-40 minutes, tossing around every 15 minutes or so to get that glorious toasted nuttiness. You will wonder why you wasted so much money on the shop-bought version which always had one ingredient you never liked.
Ramadan tip – this is perfect for suhur! It’s packed with protein, light yet filling, and super nutritious. My mum loved this when I made her try it.
Nutty Maple Granola – Recipe
You will need:
One or two large rimmed baking trays
One small saucepan
Knife/scissors and chopping board
300g jumbo rolled oats
150-200g mixed nuts (almonds, pecans, cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachios – whatever you like!) – roughly chop some/all of these, unless you like them whole
50g mixed seeds (linseed, flaxseed, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds* – again, whatever you like)
100-150g mixed dried fruit (I used organic dried apricots and raisins because I had those at home, but you could use anything like dried mango, dried cranberries, dates etc. Try and use dried fruits which haven’t been sulphured and/or coated in oil and sugar, which is common for dried berries)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
60 ml maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut sugar (this has a gorgeous caramel taste and is an unrefined sugar – use brown sugar or jaggery if you prefer)
30 ml extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat oven to 140 degrees Celsius/300 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix together the oats, nuts, seeds, cinnamon (if using) and salt in a large bowl (I sometimes just mix them together in the baking tray)
- In a small saucepan set over low heat, warm the coconut sugar, maple syrup and olive oil until the sugar has just dissolved, then remove from heat. Fold liquids into the mixture of oats, making sure to coat the dry ingredients well. (note: I accidentally left the sugar mixture to heat for too long and it started to boil and become caramel. I used it anyway and it was still delicious, plus I got small caramelised chunks in my granola at the end, YUM. If you do this, just be careful to act quickly while it is hot and liquid (it will set and become hard as it cools) and stir it into the dry ingredients with a spoon because it will be very hot and will burn your skin. It might not coat all of your grains but you will still get the sweetness.
- Spread granola over the baking sheet – use one or two depending on how big they are, you want to make sure the granola is not piled too deep on each tray so it gets the heat it needs. Bake until dry and lightly golden for about 40-45 minutes, tossing the granola around (in the tray!) a few times every 15 mins or so.
- While your granola is toasting, roughly chop the dried fruit (even if you’re going to whizz it afterwards – it makes it easier)
- Remove granola from oven, and mix the dried fruit into it.
- Optional: allow to cool slightly before tipping into a food processor and whizzing up on a low/pulse setting so you get a roughly ground mix. This consistency is great to use in pancakes and smoothies.
- Transfer whatever is left after you’ve nibbled on it to a storage container. It will make multiple Portion“>portions.
- Mocha/chocolate granola: add 1-2 tbsp cacao powder and/or 1 tbsp ground coffee to the sugar and syrup as you’re heating it, and use that to coat the grains before roasting in the over. This is a really tasty alternative!
- Serve straight up with milk, hot or cold. I love this with nut milk more than dairy milk because it really complements the nuttiness of the granola.
- Eat as a snack
- Make a fruit parfait (see photo) by layering mixed fruit with Greek yoghurt or Skyr yoghurt and granola – and top with dark chocolate nibs if you like.
- Make pancakes (better with the ground version) : mix a cupful of granola with an egg and some mashed banana or cottage cheese, add more cinnamon and/or cacao powder if you like, and cook like regular pancakes!
- Add a spoonful to your smoothie