Spiced Granola

At certain times of year, certain ingredients are more prominent, and Autumn is the time for all things spiced, aromatic, lush and indulgent. When I was thinking of this granola recipe, I really wanted to incorporate the evocative feelings created by ingredients such as cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and all spice. I associate them with cosiness, comfort and warmth, and when it’s cold, and I don’t feel like porridge, this is what I decided the answer should be. I’ve used maple syrup in this recipe, it’s toffee notes providing a luscious backdrop to the afore mentioned spices. I wanted there to be a distinctive sweet but spicy kick throughout the granola so I have added loads of roughly chopped preserved ginger, along with some of its syrup too. When the preserved ginger bakes in the oven, it becomes chewy and a little spicier, which is a lovely little surprise that hits you as you munch away at the otherwise crunchy chunks. Treacle may seem a strange ingredient here, but I think it’s one of the elements which makes this recipe extra special, all dark and intense and sweet.

This makes a large quantity- when you’re finished you have about 1.7KG of granola. It sounds like more than it actually is, particularly if there are a few people in the house. Get yourself an airtight container, and it will last for ages. Also, you can use it for so much more than just breakfast. Because granola is quite sweet it can be used to create a quick and easy dessert. Throughout the week I will share a delicious dessert recipe for caramelised apples topped with this spiced granola.

I love to serve this granola with a few seasonal blackberries gently mashed with creamy Greek yogurt.

I know that long lists of ingredients can be intimidating, and expensive too. As with so many recipes, the list of ingredients here is open to interpretation. Leave out whatever you don’t feel like buying or putting in. The most important components are the oat base (this can be totally made up of jumbo oats if you wish), and the sticky , syrupy, spicy liquid. Everything else is 100% at your discretion.

 Spiced Granola

 Makes 1.7kg of granola

Preparation time: 25-30 minutes

Cooking time: 50 minutes to 1 hour.

Equipment needed: 2 large baking trays. 2 sheets of baking parchment. 1 very large bowl (use two medium bowls if you don’t have one really big one.) Weighing scales. Whisk. 1 large airtight container, or a few medium sized ones.

Ingredients

300g rolled jumbo oats

150g buckwheat flakes*

150g barley flakes**

100g buckwheat

100g hazelnuts

100g pistachio nuts

50g pecan nuts

7 pieces of preserved stem ginger , chopped roughly

250ml maple syrup

50ml stem ginger syrup-strained from a jar of stem ginger

250ml sunflower or ground nut oil

1/2 tbsp treacle***

1 1/2 tsp ground ginger

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp all spice

100g almonds, toasted**** 

100g dried banana

100g dried mixed fruit/berries

50g pumpkin seeds

50g sunflower seeds

 

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 150’C, 300’F, gas mark 2. Line two large baking trays with baking parchment and set aside.
  2. Weight out the oats, buckwheat flakes, barley flakes, buckwheat, hazelnuts, pistachio nuts,  and pecan nuts- mix together well.
  3. In a saucepan, weigh out the maple syrup, stem ginger syrup, chopped preserved ginger, oil, treacle and all of the spices. Place on a medium to low heat, and warm gently until the treacle has melted- this should only take 2-3 minutes. Use a whisk to combine the ingredients well.
  4. Pour the warm liquid over the dry ingredients and thoroughly mix all of the ingredients so that the dry ingredients are very well coated with the spiced syrup.
  5. Divide the mixture between the trays and spread out so that the trays are completely covered with the granola mix.
  6. Bake in the oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour. Check it regularly, you are looking for the grains to turn a deep golden colour. 50 minutes may be enough if your oven is on the hotter side. Half way through swap the tray on the higher shelf to the lower shelf, and vice versa to ensure even cooking. When ready, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on the baking trays.
  7. When cool, break the granola up into smallish chunks in a bowl. You can use your hands for this or the end of a rolling pin.
  8. Weigh out the almonds, dried banana, dried fruit and seeds and add to the crushed granola. Mix together well.
  9. Store in airtight containers and enjoy until your hearts content.

 

The all important *stars*

*If working to a tight budget, it is no problem to just use jumbo oats- no biggie whatsoever!

**Same as above!

*** Treacle can be a real pain in the ass for sticking to EVERYTHING, including you. So, run your measuring spoon under some very hot water before measuring out treacle. The troublesome black stuff will slide off your spoon beautifully.

**** To toast almonds, place them in a dry frying pan on a medium heat. Watch over them carefully as they begin to turn golden brown. Flip or turn them regularly as they toast- it should only take a few minutes. When ready, remove from the pan immediately as they continue to cook in the hot frying pan.

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