At some point in my life, a life riddled with food obsessions that come and go, there was a period of time in which I simply craved granola. I wasn’t pregnant – I simply think my body needed something out of the mix of nuttiness and the comfort of yoghurt. I would order it daily at Cafe Greco in Maadi – sometimes even twice. I bought boxes of nutty granola from supermarkets around town, looking for something to quench my thirst.
One afternoon, when the craving hit a little harder than usual and I had dismissed two boxes of below standard granola, I decided to turn granola into a project and make it with my 5-year-old. I looked up a number of granola recipes and gathered together what I had in my house and what was available in the Egyptian market (by delivery from my phone). The result was so yummy, I presented my concoction in recipe form at the Egypt Independent for our Daily Ramadan Recipe series.
The obsession faded but recently, it has returned. Friends have inquired about the absence of the granola and my craving for the cinnamon-y maple-y nutty taste has slowly crept back, making my taste buds itch! The most recent granola production was a few days ago and I ran things a little differently from before so I thought I would post a more intricate version of the granola recipe! Happy baking to all…
Directions and Ingredients mixed together:
This list is fluid and ever changing… occasionally I have walnuts at home, sometimes cashews… my last granola batch was blessed with an overload of pre-shelled pistachios. Think about the nuts you love…
The base is 5 cups of oats.
Then you will need two cups of nuts – they can be 2/3 cashew, 2/3 walnut, 2/3 almond or the surprisingly flavorful 1 cup pistachios, 1/3 cashew, 2/3 almonds that I tossed together last time. In any case, chop the nuts up in a mini blender (or by hand) and mix nuts with oats. Look at your bowl and decide if you feel the nut to oats ratio of the granola is to your liking. Then add nuts accordingly.
Sunflower seeds in their shelled form are hard to find in Cairo – the first time I made the granola I shelled them myself. This time I had no sunflower seeds to shell and substituted with 1/3 cup of pine nuts. It was very delish.
You mix all of the above in a bowl.
In a stove top pot you should mix the other ingredients:
½ teaspoon salt
⅓ cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons maple syrup
½ cup honey
⅔ cup sunflower oil
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
I use partial maple syrup (pancake syrup) since pure maple syrup is not available here – and the honey is always an estimate since it is hard to move honey to a measuring cup and then to the pot with out losing copious amounts on the way.
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius (probably the lowest setting on your oven).
Cover two baking sheets with foil.
Boil the ingredients above on the stove until the brown sugar melts and the whole thing is one consistent liquid.
Pour the mixture over your oat/nut/seed mixture with a wooden spoon and coat the oats and nuts completely.
Spoon it all onto the foil covered baking sheets and spread it evenly.
Place baking sheets into the oven for 10 minutes.
Remove the baking sheets (this is very important) and try your best to flip the granola about, bringing the granola on the sides to the middle and the granola in the middle to the sides.
Put the baking sheets back in the oven for another 10 minutes.
Remove the baking sheets and leave the granola to cool.
Break up the granola (it will be like a sheet) and make sure the foil does not stick to your pieces. My friend Rana suggested using wax coated baking paper instead – I have yet to try this.
Put the granola into an airtight glass (stop using plastic to store!!!) jar.
The granola will last your two weeks! Best eaten with yoghurt. It’s pretty sweet so you may not need honey…
YUM YUM YUM.
To all who have had my granola and enjoyed it – your comments are always little rays of sunshine for me – and inspire me to make more!