Do you like having granola sweetened with honey and maple syrup for breakfast or snacks? I do now.
Back when I lived in Knoxville, Tennessee, my best friend Sharon’s mother was a terrific cook and she would make some outstanding treats and mail them to her daughter from Nashville. Sharon and I were both single mothers with really good jobs that required long hours. She was a high powered accountant who worked for the rich and famous and I ran a factory in town. We stood out for two reasons, one was the fact that we were women doing ‘mens’ jobs’ in a southern city and two was that she was tall, slender and oh so blonde, while I was 5′ tall with jet black hair.
One day she called me at work to say her mother had sent her a package and she couldn’t get away and would I dash right then to the post office to get it before they closed. What are friends for? If I’d known then that her mother had sent her twelve pounds of homemade granola I might have thought twice about going and how far away I would park.
I got back to my office and gave Sharon a call and said, “Do you know what it was that your mother sent because I swear it’s a ton of bricks.”
“I think it’s a box of cereal,” she replied.
Some cereal! With my two teenagers and her one teenager, that 12 pound box of granola didn’t last very long at all. Fast forward a very very long time up to last year when I told everyone I was going to make granola in 2013. I’m late. I wanted to create Sharon’s mother’s granola filled with oats and nuts and dried fruit and seeds. I also wanted a gentle sweetness that would encourage me to have some every morning.
It is SO good. I looked around the net at about 100 granola recipes and picked a bit of this and a bit of that and a bit of something else and came up with my own granola recipe, sweetened with mostly honey and maple syrup. I will make this again and again. You can make granola with whatever you’ve got in the house. I saw recipes that added wheat germ, oat bran, coconut oil, dried apples, cinnamon, dried cherries – you could add anything you enjoy eating.
I strongly suggest that you not overdo the eating bit. While it’s full to the brim with good things for your body, it’s got a lot of oats and well, what goes in, comes out. In a big way — Just saying. I may have learned this the hard way.
You can eat this granola by itself which I did like a pig or you could have it with milk, yoghurt or kefir for a wonderful breakfast. Here’s how I made it.
- 8 cups rolled oats (not the quick kind)
- 1 cup sunflower seeds
- ½ cup pepitas
- 1 cup pecans roughly chopped
- ½ cup flaked almonds
- 1 cup walnuts roughly chopped
- 1 cup unsalted cashews (I left mine whole)
- ½ cup coconut flakes (or any kind of coconut that you like)
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup sultanas (or raisins)
- ½ cup dried apricots, chopped
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (the good stuff)
- 1 cup oil (I used macadamia nut oil but anything will work)
- ¾ cup honey
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- ½ cup brown sugar
- Preheat oven to 165C/325F
- In the largest bowl you have, add the oats, sunflower seeds, pepitas, pecans, almonds, coconut, walnuts and cashews and set aside.
- In a large pot, add the maple syrup, honey, oil, sugar, vanilla and brown sugar and bring to the boil. Boil for 5 minutes and the mixture will thicken slightly.
- Pour the hot mixture over the oats, seeds and nuts and stir to coat.
- Place on baking sheets lined with foil or baking paper (I used foil) and bake for 20 minutes. About halfway through baking, stir the granola to ensure all the granola gets toasted.
- When the granola is light brown, remove from the oven and mix in the sultanas, cranberries, apricots (or other dried fruit).
- When completely cool place your granola in an air tight container and it should last two weeks. (Mine won't be around longer than a week)