I absolutely love having people stay with us, there is something about playing hostess that makes me giddy with excitement. And time permitting, I always like to leave some homebaking on our guests’ pillows which I hope makes them feel as welcome as I am excited to have them there. Although entirely irrational, one of my biggest fears with having guests over is that they might become pekish during the day or worse – go to bed still feeling hungry, and feel too polite to say anything. So being able to leave something on their pillow that they can enjoy at any point during their visit eases the fear somewhat. Normally it would be biscuits or brownies, but this time I opted for something a bit more healthy. We had my parents in law staying with us for the long weekend, and I have been wanting to make granola for the longest time now and thought this was the perfect opportunity.
Home-made granola is incredibly easy to make, and one of those wonderful things where you can put in as much or as little of whatever you feel like without affecting the recipe at all. I like having more chunky bits of dried fruit as well as loads of cinnamon, so really it could be eaten as dry snack as well without having to add milk or yoghurt. If you want to crank up the health benefits add some extra seeds such as pumpkin seeds and pepitas. To get some ideas on flavours and fruit, have a look at the boxed granola in the supermarket as well as having a look down the healthy food aisle what sort of nuts and dried fruit they have. But I can assure you, once you have made your own granola you will never walk down the cereal aisle again!!
The only point of advice I would mention is to keep an eye on the granola while in the oven – it can burn rather easily. So make sure you take it out every 10 minutes or so and use a spatula to stir it around thoroughly. I had my granola in for about half an hour, and did two different batches with the quantities below in the oven. When you spread it out in the oven pan it should only make one layer, so that it can bake nice and evenly. Also, the granola will start losing its stickiness and become slightly drier as it is baking, but it will not dry out completely while it is still hot. Once it has cooled down completely it will be dry and crispy. You’ll know when it is ready when the oats have a nice rich brown colour. The recipe below is quite sweet, so if you prefer your cereal a little less sweet you can half the quantities of syrup, honey and brown sugar. I have left out the quantities for the seeds, nuts and dried fruit as I just used handfuls of what I had in the pantry, and kept adding a little more each time I stirred it through. It really is up to you how much you want in there.
Fruit and Nut Granola
400g rolled oats
seeds (I used sunflower, pepita and sesame seeds)
nuts (I used macadamias and shredded almonds)
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla paste
4 tbs golden syrup
4 tbs honey
100g brown sugar
50g banana chips, roughly chopped
dried fruit, diced (I used a medley of raisins, apples, apricots, peaches and pears)
- Preheat your oven to 180°C.
- Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly, except for the dried fruit.
- Spread half the mixture in an oven pan and bake for 30-40 minutes, remember to check at 10 minute intervals and stir around to ensure it browns evenly.
- Remove from the oven and pour into a heat proof dish to cool.
- Repeat with the remaining half of the mixture.
- Once everything has cooled down you can stir through the dried fruit.
- Store in an airtight container.
…be fearless, and have fun!