A trip from this expensive, but oh-so-wonderful grocery store in Delhi inspired me with a ton of new recipe ideas, as well as a few basics, that we end up spending so much of our hard-earned money on without realizing how easy it is to make these items at home.
Granola is one such thing.
Granola is basically made up of toasted oats, and packed with amazing flavours. The crunchiness is perfect for those who prefer cereal in the A.M. and/or who are not a fan of the mushiness of oatmeal or porridge.
Now pre-packaged granola isn’t top of my list – I’d rather eat the sugar packed cereals instead. And freshly made at the store burns the pockets a bit deeper. And I have a general lack of trust of anything over-the-counter (except perhaps, Dominos Pizza… but that’s another issue altogether!).
Making it at home means I can control the sugars, the flavours and quantity as well.
Most granola is in chunky forms with a good crunch – this is due to a larger quantity of syrup or sweetener that holds it together. I tend to use lesser so they aren’t exactly large clumps that you would see in a boxed granola packet, but they do taste the same.
I like granola as it is premixed with all the nutritious goodness that starts off the day well, with minimum effort!
There is a basic formula of: oats + sweetener + fat + nuts + seeds + dried fruits + flavourings.
The Oats: [ 2 ½ cups ]
Always use the steel cut old fashioned oats, which do not have any preservatives or added sugars and sodium. The oats are the base of your granola.
The Sweetener: [ ½ cup ]
This is what brings you the sweetness and helps bind the oats together to create the clusters. Ensure this part is organic, no preservative and naturally made for a healthy option. I have used brown sugar which creates less clusters, whereas a syrup would help bind the oats more. You can choose from the following:
Brown sugar Agave syrup
Raw Sugar Honey
Coconut sugar Sugar free fruit syrup
The Fat: [ ½ cup ]
This is the fat that also helps bind the oats together. Choose between coconut oil for sweeter taste; olive oil for a savoury hint.
Nuts + Seeds: [1 cup ]
This is the most important part of a good nutrition packed granola. Choose a variety from the following:
Almonds Chia Seeds
Walnuts Pumpkin Seeds
Pistachios Flax Seeds
Cashew Nuts Sesame Seeds
Hazelnuts Poppy Seeds
Pecans Sunflower Seeds
Peanuts Pine Nuts
Salt + Seasonings:
I add a teaspoon of Maldon sea salt as it tends to bring out the sharpness in the sweetness. If you don’t have any, fret not, add half a teaspoon of regular salt and mix well.
I also add a tablespoon of cinnamon and a tablespoon of vanilla as my granola is more on the sweeter side.
However, if you do want to use olive oil, I would omit the vanilla.
Other options can range from anything from pumpkin pie mix spice, ground ginger with nutmeg and cinnamon for a Christmas feel (and add the cranberries!), or anything under the sun really!
Dried Fruits [ ¾ cup ]
Chop them up into tiny pieces and mix after the granola has come out of the oven and cooled. What you add here really develops the flavour further. Choose from:
Dried figs Dried Kiwi
Dried apricots Dried Pineapple
Dates Dried Bananas
Dried Cranberries Dried Acai Berries
Dried Blueberries Dried Goji Berries
You can add anything else that comes to your mind that would help the tastes. I always add chocolate chips, because, let’s face it – chocolate does make the morning so much better!
Toasted coconut shreds also taste extremely well. If you don’t want to toast them separately, stir the shreds into the granola when you open the oven at halfway time.
Both these items can be added once the granola is out of the oven and cooled. Mix thoroughly.
Baking granola in a sheet pan is the best option – it does not take long, and you do have to keep an eye on it to avoid burning. I recommend greasing the pan, laying a baking sheet paper or wax sheet, and greasing that again before adding in the oat mixture. This will avoid the oats from sticking and clinging onto the sheet. It ensures a smooth removal!
This granola does not take long, about 17-20 minutes, for which you need to stir it half way.
I prefer to keep the layer slim, to ensure everything cooks throughout. This does mean I don’t have great big clusters like the ones in a packaged one, but again, I don’t really care.
Serve with a dollop of yogurt and fresh fruits! The best thing about granola is that it is already packed with the seeds, nuts and sweeteners, thus cutting your preparation time considerably.
This granola stays well in an airtight container for 2-3 weeks and can be stored in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Yields: 3 cups | Prep Time: 20 mins | Cook Time: 20 mins
2 ½ cups old fashioned oats
½ cup coconut oil or olive oil
½ cup brown sugar or sweetener (maple syrup, honey, etc)
1 cup nuts + seeds (almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds)
1 tbsp cinnamon powder
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp sea salt or ½ tsp regular salt
¾ cup dried blueberries
½ cup chocolate chips
Combine all the dry ingredients well, except for the chocolate chips and dried blueberries. Each oat should be well coated with the oil.
Then stir in the liquid components.
Line a baking tray with wax paper, greasing both sides well.
Spread the oat mixture into the pan, keeping the layer slim to ensure baking throughout.
Bake in a preheated oven of 180°C for 17-20 minutes, stirring the oats halfway.
Remove from oven when the oats are well roasted.
Let cool completely before mixing in the dried blueberries and chocolate chips.
Store in an airtight container in a cool dry place.