On Saturday I had another go at the granola I made a couple of years ago (has it really been that long?). It was a day of heavy rain showers, and so staying in the kitchen for the afternoon was really the best thing to do.
Of course, I didn’t have all the ingredients, and so I had to make a mad dash to the shops to get a couple of them, with some very dark clouds hovering over my head as I scurried along. I made it safely back though, and set to work.
Making your own cereal might sound like a fiddly, time-consuming thing to do, but it’s really not. It’s mostly just mixing stuff in a bowl, and then baking it. And then the next morning, when you sit down to a breakfast of home-made cereal, you can feel very smug about the whole endeavour.
The recipe I used is still the one from the Big Book of Vegetarian, but I’ve made a couple of tweaks to suit my own tastes (not a fan of cinnamon these days – though I used to wolf down cinnamon toast cereal as a teenager), so here’s my adapted recipe in case you’ve got the time or inclination to have a go at making your own cereal. (I think this is particularly worthwhile if you have visitors coming to stay and want to impress them!).
Vanilla and Almond Granola
- 4 cups rolled oats
- 1/2 cup pecan nuts, chopped
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds
- 1/2 cup soft light brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (which, my mother will be very pleased to hear, I grated using the nutmeg grater she bought me)
- 1/3 cup sunflower oil
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
In a big bowl, mix together the oats, pecans, almonds, brown sugar, salt and nutmeg.
Pour the oil into a pan, and heat it gently with the maple syrup and granulated sugar. Bring it to a simmer, then remove it from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour it into your mixing bowl of dry ingredients, and mix everything together. Distribute the mixture across two baking trays (you’ll want the kind that has a lip to it, otherwise you’ll end up with oats all over your oven floor).
In an oven heated to 150 degrees C (I think that’s 300 degrees F for anyone in the US), bake it all for around 30 minutes – it should darken a little in colour while it bakes. The book says to stir it occasionally while it cooks – I think this is to stop it forming into one big mass; the stirring breaks it up into bite-size chunks.
Once it’s cooled, you can transfer it to a storage jar, where it will keep fresh for a couple of weeks. Top tip: while you leave it on the worktop to cool, shut your cat out of the kitchen.