The first time I made granola was motivated by a need to use up all the bits n bobs from my larder; you know, a handful of walnuts here, half a packet of dried cherries there, etc. It happens a lot, especially after Christmas time when armfuls of dried fruit and nuts are summoned forth and used to excess in festive bakes. Inevitably, after recipes have been dutifully followed and ingredients diligently measured, there will be an unrequired number of dates and figs – just five or so – which must be returned to their plastic bag and tightly secured with a neat plastic clip (manufactured and procured for this very situation). Whilst it feels silly to keep so few, it would be a waste to throw them away and, in any case, they’re dried so ‘they’ll keep’.
And ‘keep’ they do; sometimes for centuries! Such a tiny amount is never enough for another recipe so they just remain squished up into the corners of their stiff little bags, undignified and unloved.
Granola is a perfect resting place for these long-forgotten (and even out of date) goodies from the baking cupboard. Not only does it free up space (and those handy little clips) it also tastes delicious. I find, in addition, that it keeps incredibly well in jars and air-tight containers – not that it needs to of course. We love to eat it for breakfast with yoghurt and honey, but also for pudding atop a couple of scoops of ice cream (my particular favourite combination is with vanilla ice cream and pomegranate molasses: sweet ‘n creamy, tart ‘n sour with crunchy, oaty, nutty granola goodness! Mmmm). Matt also likes to just cram a handful straight into his face when he thinks I’m not looking.
Another dessert option is to sprinkle a layer on top of a zingy lemon posset. As you can see below, I like to use ginger and coconut in my granola and this pairs well with a lime and ginger posset. I confess that I did mean to include a recipe for this in my post, but events have conspired against me this week. Maybe another time…
Anyhoo, I find this to be a great little store cupboard staple and, if you haven’t already made it, I encourage you to give it a go. It’s quick and easy; uses up odds and ends and I guarantee you’ll already have all the ingredients under your roof. Not only that, but you can substitute any or all of the fruit and nuts in my recipe for those that you have spare, or that you particularly love. There are no wrongs with granola…except, of course, for sultanas. Sultanas are always wrong under any and all conditions. I trust I don’t have to explain why.
Cooks notes: As I’ve mentioned, all dried fruits and nuts are excellent in this recipe, but I wanted to point out how particularly yumsome dried dates are here. Matt likens them to ‘little chewy sweets’ in this recipe, almost toffee-like and he misses them when they’re omitted. I feel the same way about the ginger, which is a zingy counterbalance to the sweetness of fruit, in general, and the ‘toastiness’ of nuts. Just saying.
- 200g porridge oats
- 45g blanched almonds
- 55g pecans
- 60g dried coconut (I like the flaked form, but I’ve used dedicated before)
- 40g pumpkin seeds
- 100g dried dates
- 5 knobs of preserved ginger
- 1-2 tablespoons of the ginger syrup from the jar
- 4 tablespoons of sunflower oil (or other flavourless oil)
- 3 tablespoons honey
- pinch of sea salt
Well, there’s really not much to write here – hurrah for me and my typing hands!
Preheat your oven to 180 deg (160 FAN) and line a couple of baking trays with baking paper.
Simply chop up all the ingredients and combine them in a large mixing bowl.
I begin with the dry oats and nuts, then add the oil and stir thoroughly, followed by the honey and another vigorous stir, then finally the sticky element of dates and ginger.
Once combined, spread the mixture thinly and evenly onto your baking trays and bake in the oven for approximately 30-35 minutes. Remove from the oven at ten minute intervals to stir and prevent any brown edges from getting burnt.
Remove from the oven when the mixture is a nice golden colour and leave to cool. The granola will crispen up once cooled.
Store in jars – they don’t have to be sterilised in my experience – or any air-tight containers and eat at will. It’s healthy after all!
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