Cranberry, Hazelnut and Honey Granola
We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and at Christmas time it is even more essential, especially if you have the task of cooking the Christmas dinner. Energy will definitely be required. However, if your house is anything like mine, we get through cereal like it is going out of fashion. I would hate to add up how much we spend a year on the stuff! The grand total would no doubt cause my husband to choke on his mulled wine, so I’m not going to actually add it up, but hopefully you get my point. The other problem is that shop brought cereal often contains hideous amounts of sugar which is obviously not good for anyone, and most of all my children, who on Christmas day will have already eaten numerous chocolate coins and such like before 6.30am! On Christmas day chocolate at what is effectively the middle of the night has to be allowed, but seeing them eat a healthy breakfast would certainly make me (and them) feel better. Well, luckily for those of you reading my blog and empathizing with the cereal issues I have outlined above, I have a proposition for you. The perfect solution is to make some homemade granola. How can I say that so flippantly I hear you ask? Well do read on as it will all start to make sense.
This fabulously versatile cereal hits the spot for a number of reasons. Firstly, oats which are the main ingredient are as David Dickinson likes to say, ‘cheap as chips’ which is good news for your budget, and might actually help you save a few extra pennies towards the cost of Christmas. Oats are also healthy and give ‘slow release’ energy, which is more likely to get you through to lunch without a sugar crash and the inevitable ‘Mr Tickle’ arm into the biscuit barrel that follows. I’ve been there and done that many a time, especially after a bad night with the kids, so anything that might help kick this biscuit related habit is surely worth a try. The other thing to say about granola is that is absolutely delicious, and can be used in a variety of ways including with milk, on top of yogurt, in the children’s snack box to nibble on and as a gorgeous unique gift to a loved one this Christmas. Do what I did, make double the quantity and bag some up to give away, but keep the remainder for yourself :-).
The recipe I have used is taken from Nigella’s Christmas Cook Book. A few minor alterations means that it has the, ‘homemade by Fleur‘ stamp, making it even more enjoyable I hope. I have swapped the blanched almonds in the original recipe to chopped hazelnuts as I prefer them. Feel free to do the same and make your own swaps too. Add dried fruit or nuts that you like or have in the cupboard, go with what is in season or what is on offer. The other change I made is to replace some of the honey for agave syrup. Agave syrup is a little gem to have at hand, it is a substitute to sugar and honey but has lower GI and slower release sugars. Most supermarkets or health food shops should sell it. Here is what it looks like.
The last but by no means least point to make about this granola is that it will be my first ever blog challenge entry. The Forever Nigella challenge hosted by Sarah at the brilliant Maison Cupcake blog has certainly caught my eye, and I am very excited to be submitting this blog post. One of many more I hope.
So all that is left to say is put the ingredients on your shopping list and get baking. This is a wonderful treat which the whole family will enjoy and appreciate. Be careful though, if Santa finds out you have some of this in the house, you may have an extra guest for breakfast!
What you will need
- 225g rolled oats
- 60g sunflower seeds
- 60g white sesame seeds
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 75g runny honey
- 75g agave syrup
- 50g soft brown sugar
- 60g chopped roasted hazelnuts
- 60g flaked almonds
- 50g raisins
- pinch of table salt
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- 150g dried cranberries
Makes enough to fill a 1.2 litre tin or jar, (3-4 small gift bags or 2 large gift bags)
- Preheat the oven to 170c/355f/gas 3
- Put everything into a large bowl expect the dried cranberries and mix well with a wooden spoon
- Spread the mixture onto a couple of lined baking trays and bake for about 40-50 mins
- The mixture should be turned over about half way though, and even more if you think it needs it towards the end. I set my timer for 20 mins then 10, and then 10 and turned it each time. Keeping an eye on it like this should prevent it from burning, and instead result in a lovely golden crunchy cereal
- Once cooled mix in the dried cranberries. My daughter actually helped me do this so I could take the picture!
- If using for gifts this will keep for several weeks bagged up and then placed in an airtight container. If you have made it for yourself, keep in an airtight tin or jar