Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Fabulous homemade granola

When we were approaching the bottom of our latest bag of strawberry granola, Lucas asked me, "What is granola actually made from?"  After I explained he cocked his head to one side, thinking for a moment, then asked, "So why do we buy it, then?"

That, dear reader, was a bloody good question.

My first encounter with the crunchy deliciousness of granola was in Denver, when I was on a school trip.  My host-mother offered me a bowl of still slightly-warm crunchy awesome, strong with cinnamon and honey.  I was hooked.  I'm ashamed to say that I munched my way through most of that batch and had to help make a second for everyone else!

If you google, you'll find hundreds of variations on granola.  Sweetened with brown sugar, maple, honey, agave, fruit concentrates, apple sauce...stuffed full of nuts, or nut-free...spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, or mellow with vanilla...tropical with flakes of coconut and mango, or traditional with big juicy raisins.  There are a plethora of flavour combinations!

My choice of base recipe was heavily influenced by what was in the fridge and the cupboards; I also didn't want to stuff it full of sugar.  We started off with this recipe from Delicious Magazine mainly because it used apple juice (as well as maple syrup) and hemp seeds, both of which I had lurking in the fridge.  I avoid sesame seeds like the plague since their sole purpose in life is to get stuck in teeth, so used flaked almonds instead.

Lucas really wanted to replicate the strawberry granola that he usually eats, and was quite sad when I said that we couldn't just use strawberries from the fridge.  I rummaged around in the back of the larder and came up with half a bag of posh dried strawberries that I snipped up and added to the other dried fruit that we found in the cupboard.  (I do note that Sainsbury's now sell small tubes of freeze-dried strawberries, but with a hefty price tag.)

The granola turned out incredibly well, so well that Lucas said that he wanted to start selling it to his friends!  My little entrepreneur.  I've been enjoying its crunchy goodness with a big dollop of Greek yoghurt and fresh sliced strawberries, but Lucas and Dave are traditionalists and have it with milk.  Any way you choose to eat it, this granola is fabulous!

Lucas's Granola
adapted from Delicious Magazine

  • 2 TBSP light olive oil
  • 150ml apple juice
  • 100ml maple syrup
  • 1t vanilla extract
  • 350g rolled oats
  • 100g oat bran
  • 50g sunflower seeds
  • 50g pumpkin seeds
  • 50g flaked almonds
  • 30g golden linseeds
  • 30g shelled hemp seeds (pale beige in colour, not black)
  • 200g dried fruit (we used 50g dried strawberries, 50g dried apricots, 50g jumbo flame raisins, and 50g sultanas. Snip any large pieces of strawberries or apricots with kitchen scissors.)
Preheat the oven to 160C (140C for a fan oven).  Line two large, rimmed, baking sheets with baking parchment and set aside.

Gently warm the olive oil, apple juice, maple syrup and vanilla extract together in a small pan.  Add a pinch of salt and stir well to combine.  (You just want the mixture to be warm, not boiling.)

Mix the oats, bran, seeds and almonds together in a big bowl.  Pour over the warmed apple-maple mixture and mix together very well.  Everything needs to be coated and dampened.

Spread the mixture out on the two trays. Bake for 45 minutes, turning and breaking up clumps every 10 minutes.  You'll also want to swap the trays around between the top and middle shelf halfway through so that they brown evenly. When there's 15 minutes left to go, stir in the dried fruit and return to the oven.

Allow to cool on the tray, stirring every so often.  It will get crunchier as it cools.  When cool store in an airtight jar for up to two weeks.


  1. this sounds like a very delicious treat. my son loves food that is crunchy. i should make this at home and have him try it.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Abby. As granolas go, this one is pretty healthy with lots of omega-rich seeds and monosaturated fats in the almonds. Pair it with some protein-rich yoghurt and you're on to a winner for breakfast!

  2. Sounds lovely! I think, like you, I'd find myself woolfing the lot tho ;)

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Lollzz! Luckily the granola is fairly healthy so if I scoff loads, it doesn't matter too much!


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