Homemade Granola

I’m on a holiday! While you’re reading this I’m snorkling, snoring in a hammock and hopefully drinking rum by the bucket under a sky full of stars. Having said that, to get to this paradise, a flight of 15 hours had to be tackled.
My natural approach to long distance flights is to board a ‘tiny’ bit exhausted and nap (let’s call it charmingly napping rather than drewling away in a sheer coma) until landing. Well that, and having loads to eat and drink (oh yes, I wake up to that). Whenever I arrive in a different timezone I am completely sleepdrunk, a little bloated and inevitably heading for a complete unnecessary next nap. This year I wanted to approach things differently, partly because I’d like to be a bit of a nicer travel companion, partly because I’d like to arrive fresh and happy to head out and take in a new world.
I came across a couple of articles describing fasting as the answer of fighting a jet lag. The idea is that you have a good and filling last meal upon departure, and having your next meal after arrival in the new time zone. Depending on the time zone this meal might be breakfast, lunch or dinner. I was equally convinced and intimidated by this idea (17 (!) hours of not eating).
So I solved this by making something delicious to ‘snack’ on (snack, haha who am I kidding:)). Not that I really needed an excuse, making granola was on my list for a long time already after reading Megan Gordon’s beautiful cookbook Wholegrain Mornings.She gives a basic recipe for making granola alongside an extensive list with inside tips and tricks to make sure yours turns out well. I could not have been more excited with the result of my first try and am already picturing me giving bags and bags full of granola to friends (from this beach and hammock it all sounds dreamy, let’s see how real life thinks about this production line ;)).
The ingredients are easy to adapt to the content of your cupboards and the only essentials are a goog quality vegetable oil, old-fashioned rolled oats, honey and nuts or seeds.
You can further add spices and herbs of your liking, dried fruit, etc. At first I considered the amount of oil and honey a little generous, but after making this, I am completely convinced. I can imagine however, that I will try to reduce the amount of honey, but for now I am mostly enjoying the idea that there will be a large jar of this granola waiting for me when I come back home.
See you soon again!

Homemade Granola
This makes a very large portion of granola, feel free to half the recipe, or be prepared to have storage glasses ready.

  • With regards to the measurements, I have taken the liberty of using a mug in my cupboard, as in the end it is all about the proportions, rather than exact numbers.
  • 1/2 cup of oil (I used flaxseed oil)
  • 3/4 cup of honey
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of salt (be generous, as it will make a huge taste difference)
  • 3 cups of steelcut oats (old-fashioned, not the instant ones)*
  • 2 1/2 dups of seeds or nuts (I used a mixture of pumpkin seeds, walnuts and sunflower seeds)
  • 1 cup of dried fruit (optionally, I used dried pineapple and mango but you could also add raisins or dried cranberries after baking)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of spices (optionally, I used aniseed, fennel and cinnamon)
Mix the oil, honey, vanilla extract, salt and spices in a large bowl.
Mix in the nuts and oats and mix all thoroughly. The mixture will seem overly wet and that is a good sign. The dried fruit will be added later, as it will otherwise become overbaked.
Press the mixture down in either a baking tray or a large oven form. Depending on the surface of the baking form, you will have to amend your baking time.
Bake all in a moderately hot oven, on around 180 degrees Celsius. Keep stirring the mixture while baking, as the top might brown while the layer underneath will require more time in the oven.
The time of baking depends on the volume of the mixture you have made as well as the kind of baking form you have use.
It took my mixture around 45-50 minutes to be ready. When you notice that there is not that much liquid left on the bottom, and it seems like the oats have absorbed most of the oil and honey, the granola is ready. Don’t be alarmed by the fact that it seems to be very soft, it will all harden beautifully when cooling down. I have scooped the mixture into the glass jars when it was still easy to handle while soft, with hindsight I would advise to let it cool down, break it up in pieces and then divide into storage jars to prevent blocks of granola being stuck in aforementioned pots.
*You could also replace 1 cup with for example ground almonds or whole buckwheat (or a mixture of both), which gives a really nice result.

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