How easy is this to bake?
So often when I am in the supermarket and am looking for new breakfast inspiration, I look at shop-bought granola, review the contents on the box, raise my eyebrows at the cost and return it to the shelf. More often than not, it contains food items that don’t agree with us, so I leave with the intention of making it at home.
I have finally got around to doing it and will waste no more time lingering in the supermarket cereal aisle!
It is so easy to make and has enormous variation potential. Breakfast need not be dull anymore and can include, or exclude, whatever ingredients you choose. This granola is nut free but full of healthy seeds – pumpkin, sunflower and golden linseeds.
There are numerous recipes for granola but I stumbled on Ottolenghi’s when I was referring to their Passion Fruit Jam which I made earlier in the week (sublime, by the way). I planned on adapting by excluding the nuts, but adding more seeds and rice flakes. The recipe also called for maple syrup, of which I didn’t have any in the house so I used Demerara sugar as a substitute.
Coincidentally, I received my Amazon delivery from the US (earlier than I than I was expecting – yippee!) of ‘The Best of America’s Test Kitchen 2013’. I managed to have a quick browse through the book and, low and behold, found a sub section on granola. I have used these tips with this recipe, and method, and am very pleased with the results.
Whilst you can, more or less, add what you like to your granola, you must always ensure that it contains fat – or vegetable oil, in this case. This prevents the ingredients from drying out too much in the oven and helps with a crunchy granola, as opposed to a saw dust-dry type. To achieve a chunky, cluster type granola, as I have done here, simply flatten the granola on the baking tray with a spatula, prior to baking and do not stir during the baking process. Once baked, allow to cool a little before breaking up into bite sized chunks and then add your dried fruit of choice. Such straightforward advice from America’s Test Kitchen and a wonderful result.
As the Festive Season is nearly upon us, this granola includes some seasonal flavours – cinnamon, orange zest and dried cranberries.
Packaged up nicely in a jar, this makes a lovely unusual gift to add to any hamper, or to offer your host if you are a house guest over the holiday season.
This wholesome granola is meant to be enjoyed with yoghurt and berries at breakfast but there are no real rules. It is rather moreish, so you may constantly be picking at it…
- 400g porridge oats
- 50g rice flakes
- 80g pumpkin seeds
- 80g sunflower seeds
- 40g golden linseeds
- 120g Demerara sugar
- 120g honey
- 60ml vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 tbsp. water
- 2 tbsp. freshly grated orange zest
- 150g dried cranberries
- Preheat the oven to 140 degrees C, or Gas Mark 1. Arrange the oven racks to the middle of the oven. Prepare two baking trays (preferably with edges) by lining with baking parchment.
- Place the oats, rice flakes and seeds into a large bowl and set aside. In a small saucepan, add the sugar, honey, oil, cinnamon, salt, water, and orange zest and place over a low heat. Stir until all the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is combined. Add the hot syrup mixture to the oat and seed mixture. Stir with a spatula and ensure that the dry ingredients are thoroughly coated.
- Divide the mixture equally over the two baking trays. Make sure that the mixture is evenly distributed and with the spatula flatten certain areas of the granola (this will make sure you have some very crunchy clusters).
- Bake for a total of 40 minutes, until the oats turn a light, golden colour. Ensure that you turn the trays and swap shelves after 20 minutes to ensure a very even bake.
- Once baked, remove from the oven and allow to cool a little on the trays before stirring in the cranberries.
- Allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
Source: Adapted and inspired by ‘Ottolenghi The Cookbook’ and ‘The Best of America’s Test Kitchen 2013’