You know how back in January I said I was going to try and eat better breakfasts this year? Well, on the whole I have pretty much failed. One of my only improvements was the invention of my everyday, go to breakfast of a cubed avocado dressed in lemon juice and sea salt, and another has been the jar of homemade granola I've been trying (though I do keep on forgetting!) to keep in the larder. At least I can snack on it plain right from the jar when I have not remembered to buy more Greek Yogurt or fruit to go with it. Right?
As it is officially December I have no problem declaring the blog Christmas zone right up until the 25th. So, today we're going all Christmas with our granola, adding some wonderful seasonal spices, chopped nuts (I've used walnuts as I have an endless supply, but pecans will also work) and dried cranberries. My granola also has pumpkin seeds in, because it feels strange to me to make granola without some sort of seed action. Either enjoy for breakfast or as a midday snack, or put it in a pretty jar (you can get a set of 6 of these small Kilner jars which fit exactly half a batch of granola/ 2-3 servings each, for £27, that works out at £4.50 plus ingredients each) tied with a Christmas ribbon to give it as a thoughtful homemade gift.
If you're keeping the granola for yourself, especially for snack handfuls, I have a suggestion. You see, as it is Christmas you can basically get away with eating whatever you want. So, when I tell you that any Christmas chocolate you have spare to hand already, but especially Lindt characters, are fantastic for crumbling into your granola, do it. As I said, it is Christmas. Chocolate for breakfast is totally acceptable. Or, at least I keep telling myself as I try and find guilt free ways to attack the festive stash Lindt sent me and is currently hidden away (from myself, obviously) in the corner of my upstairs office.
As I said, this recipe makes about 4-6 servings, depending on how greedy you are, and you'll need a large, airtight jar to store it in; this jar I've pictured only makes half batches. It is all I can manage at the moment, as at the time of writing this all my large jars are occupied for the last week or so of my sloe and damson gin making.
- 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
- 1 tbsp Clear Honey
- 70ml Maple Syrup
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract (I always use Nielsen Massey. My current bottle was a gift from Baking Mad.)
- 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp Ground Cloves
- 1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
- 150g (5.5 oz) Porridge Oats (America? I swear by Trader Joe's Gluten Free Rolled Oats.)
- 30g (1 oz) Pumpkin Seeds
- 100g (3.5 oz) Chopped Walnuts or Pecans
- 100g (3.5 oz) Dried Cranberries
Pre-heat your oven to 150 degrees (300 degrees fahrenheit). In a large bowl whisk together the oil, honey, syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Add the oats and stir until they are all coated. Add the nuts, pumpkin seeds and cranberries, and stir. Line a big, flat baking tray with a piece of greaseproof paper and spread out the granola mix over it.
Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes, until the tray or granola starts to get aromatic and slightly golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the tray until at room temperature and solid. Break the granola up into manageable clumps and store in an airtight jar for up to 2 weeks.
Have fun with the granola; I can't wait to hear your own festive variations. Also, stay tuned for more exciting recipes I've got planned coming out of my Christmas Kitchen this month, including some that I tested last year and I've been sitting on for 12 months! For now, if you already want to get baking here is my Mummy's recipe for Mince Pies, any my recipe for Orange & Festive Spice Biscuits (though, look out for an updated version of these this Christmas!)