Homemade Granola

I started making this at home, because people were guzzling lolly-sweet imported boxed cereal at the rate of a box every three days. It was stupidly expensive: 270 Thai baht for a standard box of “Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs” or such like, or almost US $10. Every three days, mind you.

So anyway, switching to hippie nutritionally aware Tartar mum just-plain-cheap mode, I started making our own.

The recipe comes from the “Feast” book by Nigella Lawson and the granola is now a standard kitchen-shelf item in our house. I have made some tweaks to her recipe, including reducing the sugar content. It still has some sweeteners in it, mainly from applesauce and honey. You could make your own applesauce – I get mine from a jar, though (there are limits to the homespun approach).  The spices in this make your kitchen smell great when it’s toasting in the oven. Everyone likes it. The best part is, it’s really easy.

Ingredients:

  • 450g rolled oats (NOT the instant kind)
  • 120g sunflower seeds
  • 120g white sesame seeds
  • 175g bottled applesauce
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 3-4 tbsp runny honey – I use a Thai brand, from longan flowers
  • 50g light brown sugar
  • 250g whole natural almonds – sometimes I use less almonds, and make up the weight with other nuts that happen to be in the cupboard.
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil

Method:

Tip everything into a very large saucepan. Use two metal spoons or spatulas to mix everything together well, using each spoon to scrape the sticky bits off the other, as needed.

Then spread the whole lot out on two baking trays – the wide, flat ones that come with ovens, or cookie trays would do. I usually line them with baking paper or foil, to make cleaning up easier.

Toast gently in the oven at 170 degrees C for 20-30 minutes, depending on the heat of your oven.  Switch round the two trays halfway through the toasting time, to ensure that they get a roughly even distribution of heat. Keep an eye on it to make sure they are not being toasted too much – you want the result to be slightly crisp, but still a bit chewy. (If it gets too much heat, then you’re crunching on little rocks at the end.)

If you are an unreformed sugar addict, you could stick with Nigella’s original prescription, which has double this amount of sugar, plus 120g of syrup. She says to use brown rice syrup or rice malt syrup, but I think any kind would do – I have used golden syrup and maple syrup before, and both were fine.

Just as often, I do a different version of this, as per her suggestion, using 300g peanuts instead of almonds, and adding 25g good cocoa powder to the mix. You could add raisins or other dried fruit, as you like.

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