I have considered making my own granola for a while, but it seemed like a bit of a faff. And then I read this book and realised that the one meal a day that I can really control is breakfast. So that, coupled with the fact that my usual granola comes in a plastic bag and I’m actively trying to reduce my consumption of plastic, encouraged me to give it a go. As with the body lotion bar post I wrote yesterday this isn’t a “Brilliant, I’ve found the perfect formula” post, but is instead a “my notebook is full, so I’d better decant my notes somewhere” kind of post.

Batch One

This was based on this recipe with ingredients/quantities as follows:

  • 3 cups oats
  • 1/3 cup macadamias
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/3 cup flaked almonds
  • 1/2 cup pistachios
  • 1/3 cup peanuts
  • 5 or 6 pecans
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/3 cup dried figs

The nuts and seed quantities were very much dependent upon what I had in the house. And while making this, I realised how much I dislike using cups for dry ingredients. I much prefer to use weights.

I baked it at 170 degrees C (fan oven) for 45 mins, giving it a stir/loosen every 10 to 15 minutes. This was too long and too high a temperature as it turns out, resulting in it being a bit browner than I’d have liked. But the end result was edible, and in fact tasty, and I enjoyed knowing what had gone into my breakfast cereal.

When buying granola, I’ve always tended towards those which are nut based. So I’m not entirely sure why I thought the addition of raisins and fig would suddenly work for me. But, as a first attempt, I wanted to make a reasonable effort at following the recipe. As it turns out, the raisins and figs in this didn’t do much for me, and so I recognised that a nut and seed option would suit me better. Things to consider for the next batch.

Batch Two

A baking friend of mine had fished out some granola recipes from among her stack of books, articles, and notes, and so I used some of the weights from those for this attempt.

  • 250g oats
  • 50g almonds
  • 50g cashews
  • 30g sunflower seeds
  • 10g chia seeds
  • 10g linseeds
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 6 tbsp maple syrup

I baked this at 150 degrees C in my fan overnight for 40 minutes and stirred it every 10 minutes. The weights made this much easier to work with. I’m fortunate that we have a lovely supermarket that has seeds and nuts available in small quantities plastic-free. So the seeds and nuts used for this batch were very much dependent on what I could source from there during a work lunch. It was a good combination as it turned out, but it could do with more cashews. That said, I love cashews, so that is a familiar refrain.

Batch Three

Building on the success of the previous attempt

  • 250g oats
  • 75g cashews
  • 36g almonds
  • 14g hazelnuts
  • 40g sunflower seeds
  • 20g chia
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp cardamom
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp safflower oil
  • 7 tbsp maple syrup

As with the previous it was baked at 150 degrees C in my fan oven for 40 minutes. It was another decent attempt but did have a bit too much salt for my tastes.

Batch Four

A jar full of granola

I’d started to get a little frustrated with a batch only lasting me for about a week, and not filling up my jar. So I increased the quantities a bit for this batch:

  • 415g oats
  • 100g cashews
  • 50g almonds
  • 25g hazelnuts
  • 80g pumpkin seeds
  • 40g sunflower seeds
  • 15g chia seeds
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp cardamom
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 8 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp agave syrup

And again baked at 150 degrees C in my fan oven for 40 minutes. This made a jar full and has been a tasty combination. Nicely balanced, with some interest from the different nuts and seeds in use.

Stirring to combine

In all of the above recipes, I put all the dry ingredients into a large bowl and given them a stir to combine before putting them into a layer on a high sided baking sheet. I then put all of the liquid ingredients into a bowl over a pan of boiling water to heat and combine gently. Once melted/combined, I pour the liquid mixture into the dry and stir it to combine. And then put it into the oven and stir at 10-minute intervals until it looks golden and the nuts have a crispness to them.

As I write this, my next batch of granola is in the oven. Similar to batch four but with slightly different quantities of nuts and seeds based purely on what I have in my cupboard. It is already starting to smell good and I’m now contemplating a second breakfast instead of lunch!