The first time I ate homemade granola was at Aisling’s place last October when I was visiting her in Fukuoka for a few days. She woke me up one morning, a wooden tray in her hands. She was carrying a smoothie bowl with some granola on top, a slice of homemade soda bread with some of her precious almond butter, and a tea, if I remember correctly. I am not sure if that breakfast tasted so incredibly delicious because of the way it was made, the person who prepared it, the fact that we ate it in bed, maybe the state of pure happiness I was in back then also helped, or perhaps a mix of all of the above!
Ever since that day, I started making my own batch of homemade granola, mainly because it’s easy, practical and delicious. It also reminds me of my wonderful friend and host when I make it, and of how a home is not just four walls and pretty furniture, a home isn’t a home until you make it one: the smell of fresh bread in the oven, hot tea infusing, morning music, people chatting…
A bit of history
Granola, or Granula, is the generalised name of a mid 19th century “registered trademark in the United States for foods consisting of whole grain products crumbled and then baked until crisp, in contrast to the, at that time, contemporary invention, muesli, which is traditionally neither baked nor sweetened.” It was invented in 1863 at the Jackson Sanitarium, a health spa at the time, in New York.
Granula was composed of Graham flour (whole-grain wheat flour), which was developed by Sylvester Graham, a well known man at the time who was an advocate of healthy nutrition and even vegetarianism (called Grahanism by some in the 19th century!). Similar cereal mixes were developed (Kellogg, Post, American Cereal Co.). Kellogg’s was initially known as Granula, but the name was changed to Granola to avoid legal issues with Jackson. Both the food and name revived in the 60s, and fruits and nuts were added to make it a healthier food, making it quite popular among the health, nature-oriented and hippie movements of that time.
It’s an easy, flavourful way of making your mornings quick and healthy. I usually eat it with yoghurt and fruit (sliced apple, raspberries, strawberries, grapes…). I make a big batch of granola once a week, divide it in two, then I leave one jar at home and take a tupperware to work, so I have an option B if I want one (option A is usually this smoothie).
I hope you enjoy!
Total time: 15mins
Notes: this recipe yields approx 7-10 breakfast portions. Quantities are approximate, go with your gut and preferences!
- 3 tbsp coconut oil (or any other light oil)
- 1 tbsp agave syrup, honey or sugar
- Grounded cinnamon, pinch of salt
- Nuts: walnuts, hazelnuts
- Seeds: sunflower, flax, pumpkin, sesame, chia
- Other: coconut flakes, puffed quinoa
You can also add dried fruits (raisins, cranberries, goji berries…) or any other seeds and nuts (almonds, cashews…) you might like.
- Preheat oven to 160º, set to ventilator and upper grill mode.
- In a cup, melt coconut oil in the microwave (10-15 secs), it melts quickly so keep an eye. Mix in your chosen sweetener, cinnamon and salt – stir well.
- Add all dry ingredients to a bowl, pour in the sweet oily mix – stir until all ingredients are coated.
- Place a baking sheet on an oven tray, pour the raw granola mix and spread out well. Place in oven and cook for 5 minutes.
- Open the oven and stir the granola mix, then cook for another 5 minutes. We do this to make sure all layers are toasted evenly.
The granola is ready when it acquires a browner tone, looks more toasted and is “sweating” (nuts start to release their natural oils). This might take longer than 10 mins depending on your type of oven and how heated it is when you place the tray in.