Granola is one of those things that has somehow got lost mid-atlantic ocean on the way over to Europe from North America. Or, maybe in typical English fashion, it was rejected as too luxurious or too indulgent compared to it’s poorer cousin porridge.
It never fails to surprise me how you can go one place and something is so absolutely everywhere you get tired of seeing it, then in another place when you ask around the shops they look at you in a kind of incredulous disbelief that you could even come out and ask the question.
Granola is like that. When we were in Canada it seemed like whoever didn’t really know what to do with their lives went in to making Granola. It doesn’t take much effort and you get the chance to feel a little creative once you’ve added the oil to the oats with adding your own dried fruit and nut combo.
It’s a kind of easy and fun thing to do. But the one place I think the Granola mini-entrepreneur falls down, and this being the most critical stage in fact, is that the stuff doesn’t keep well past a week. It starts to lose it’s freshness and you really can taste the difference between a store bought pack that’s probably months old at least and a homemade version. So sorry to all those would be granola-millionaires just waiting to finally take Europe by storm, but better folks that you make your own, and, however pretty the packaging may be (and they truly do a good job on this) resist a stale old bag from the shops.
A Blueprint for a Basic Granola Recipe
6 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped nuts (Hint: I use pecans or Macadamia’s)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 honey, agave, or maple syrup (Hint: try the maple and add a large tablespoon brown sugar too. It gives more caramel crunchy aspect)
1/2 cup raisins, currants, cranberries or chopped apricots
*add any other extras you want to the dry ingredients, but keep the wet –dry ratio and only add dried fruits after cooking as they will burn
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Combine all the dry ingredients except the dried fruit in large bowl and mix to make sure everything is distributed.
2. Pour the wet ingredients into a food processor, or use a hand held blender, and blend thoroughly to emulsify the sugar in the oil. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry and stir for a minute to completely combine.
3. Cut baking parchment to the size of your two oven trays, spread the mixture evenly to cover, and bake until golden, turning every 10 minutes so that it browns evenly. This will take about 20-30 minutes, but depends on your oven.
4. Take out when done and immediately mix in the dried fruit. Allow to cool completely on the trays before Store in a plastic container.