I love grains for breakfast. They’re healthy, they’re tasty, and I can last until noon on them. The kind of grains I love most for breakfast is granola. In Belgium, we don’t really have granola: breakfast grains, even the ‘sticky’ kind, are called muesli. In the USA or Great Britain, muesli that’s been baked with honey into crunchy clusters, is called granola. A few months ago, I bought a little book on how to make muesli and granola, and I finally had some time to give it a try. It’s actually quite easy, but the whole process takes some time. I’ve been enjoying my homemade granola every morning since (actually, it’s almost time to make a new batch). You can alter it to your own taste as you like, mixing up the grains and nuts.
300 grams of oat flakes (try to find bigger ones than the regular Quaker kind, although mine were that size and it turned out fine – no ‘instant oatmeal’ though!)
120 grams of mixed nuts, for example:
40 grams of roughly chopped pecan nuts
40 grams of roughly chopped hazelnuts
40 grams of almond flakes
120 grams of mixed seeds, for example:
40 grams of sesame seeds
40 grams of pumpkin seeds
40 grams of sunflower seeds
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract (I use cheap homemade stuff with vanilla pods soaked in vodka for at least two months)
200 grams of sweet stuff such as liquid honey, agave syrup, maple syrup… (I used a mixture of honey and agave)
200 grams of fruit compote (apple, or apricot,… but not with big chunks, you can mix it if necessary)
2 tablespoons of sunflower oil
Preaheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Toast the oats, nuts and seeds in a heavy skillet until slightly golden and fragrant, add salt and cinnamon. Set aside. Heat the sweetner, compote, vanilla and oil until completely liquid, then mix carefully with the dry ingredients until they are completely covered in the syrup mixture. Now spread the mixture over two baking tins and bake in the oven for 45 minutes.
Every ten minutes, take the granola out of the oven and turn it around with a spoon to let it bake evenly. When it’s al baked, dry and golden brown, take the granola out of the oven (you might need a little longer than 45 minutes, I did – it depends on your oven, how much it cools when you open it, etc…)
If you want to add in dried fruit, this can be done after baking. Keep the granola in an airtight container. Very tasty with some yoghurt and honey or syrup.