I made granola just one time before now. I got it all wrong. Some bits were soft, some bits were burnt - nothing like what my sister had made. Definitely nothing like what Tesco had made. I decided that I just couldn't make granola and gave up. That was it. Until now.
This week I was inspecting the array of cereals on the breakfast table, you know, as you do. Since I have been cutting out extra sugar from my diet in the lead up to Christmas, I was inspired to try again at granola - and make one without any added sugar. Isn't it annoying when something potentially healthy AND delicious is laden with so much crap? I was impressed to see the only sweet addition to Dorset Cereal's honey granola was, well, honey. The ingredients listed were things I could find in the kitchen anyway, so I thought I'd have another go. Thus began my extensive research on the world wide web for the best granola recipes. What would make the perfect 'healthier' granola - and Christmas granola at that? This time I was determined to succeed.
Do I really need to explain what I mean by Christmas granola? When I was making this I was taken back to Christmas school holidays, watching my mum make mince tarts and Christmas pudding in the kitchen, listening to radio four while I watched TV. The kitchen filled with a warm scent of spice; of home, like the comfort of fresh logs on a fire and soft socks warming your feet.
When baked and covered in honey and spiced deliciousness the nuts add a truly exceptional flavour and texture to the granola.
Why I picked almonds and brazil nuts:
- Almonds are great for skin, hair and nails. Tick, tick, tick.
- Brazil nuts are a great source of selenium which is a mineral that maintains a good mood and helps prevents depression. It's also one of those nuts that all the celebrities eat because it's so great, apparently.
- They were the only nuts I could find in the house.
I added quinoa because, well, this recipe said to. And I thought, yes. Oh yes. I love quinoa, and I love granola - the two together are sure to be a match made in heaven. Turns out quinoa baked in the oven is just as nice, if not nicer than quinoa cooked in water. It is crunchy and seed like, and there's something satisfying about that kind of texture. Not to mention how bloomin' good it is for you; a protein that contains all nine of the essential amino acids as well as being packed with iron and other essentials - what's not to love?
Just be sure to rinse the quinoa before use. It has a bit of a weird bitter taste to it otherwise.
Recipe for Christmas Quinoa Granola - adaptation of Ali's Quinoa Granola recipe from Gimme Some Oven
- 1 cup of jumbo oats
- 1/2 cup of uncooked quinoa
- 3 tbsp runny honey
- 2 tbsp nut butter of your choice - I used hazelnut butter.
- 1/4 cup of slivered or roughly chopped almonds
- 1/4 cup of roughly chopped brazil nuts
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- Handful of chopped dried apricots
- Handful of raisins
1. First, put your oven on at 175°C.
2. Combine oats, quinoa and nuts in a large bowl.
3. Add the spices, nut butter and honey and combine until everything is mixed nice and evenly.
4. Spread the mixture out onto a lined baking tray and pop into the oven for ten minutes. Take the granola out of the oven and stir it around a bit, then pop back into the oven for another ten minutes.
5. It should look nice and brown when it's done. Now let it cool. Try not to eat it all before the fruit is added. I know it's hard.
6. When the granola is cool, add the fruit and put into a container. Give it a good shake (or stir) so everyone gets a bit of everything. Mm mmm.
I'm not one to count calories, but I am keen on cutting down my sugar intake and experimenting with healthier foods like nuts and quinoa. I served this Christmas quinoa granola with some plain set yoghurt and it was dee-licious. I'm pretty proud of myself for finally not ruining a batch of granola. And I can graze on this without feeling like I'm eating spoonful after spoonful of sugar. Yum.
Will you have a go at this recipe? Let me know in the comment box below or tweet me @hello_flower - and send a photo if you do make it!