Granola, like museli, has become a very personal matter for me. Some people like dried fruits in it, others like chocolate- personally speaking I’m a nut girl and the more nuts on board the better the ride. Don frequently suggests that I must have been a squirrel in my past life, what with the way that I obsess over nuts and seeds and hiding them in every baked good that I can. I’ve given up trying to scour the pre-made packages for one with all the right flavours, the right consistency, and the right ratio of oats to goodies and started making my own. Who knew that making granola could be such an open field for experimentation? It’s rather like making sandwiches- there will always be a new combination; and I find that quite thrilling.
I’ve been playing around with various binding agents, sweeteners and cooking times and my latest favourite introduces a heinously underused ingredient- cashew nut butter. It has a silky look to it, a smooth texture and a much more subtle flavour than peanut butter, making it ideal for baking without dominating the flavour like its more popular counterpart. It serves as a binding agent and gives the granola a surprisingly delicate crumb- tossed with crunchy toasted almonds, crispy pumpkin seeds, maple syrup and a pinch of Maldon Sea salt; I think its a little bite of granola heaven. I’m not going to sit and brag about my granola- frankly, it speaks for itself. But I will just point out that this is the best balanced granola I’ve ever made. Ever. Or eaten. Ever. And that’s not just the squirrel talking.
This is not nutty as in ha ha but nutty as in mmmhmm! I used smooth cashew nut butter to bind the granola- it has a more delicate flavour than peanut butter but you could use peanut butter instead. If you like a chunkier texture then add more cashew nut butter.
Makes 8 cups
Difficulty: eating just one serving
Diet facts: not for those with nut and seed allergies!
225g/ 2 1/2 cups rolled oats
30g/ 3 tbsp flax seeds
55g/ 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
55g/ 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
140g/ 1 cup raw almonds (or nuts of choice)
1 tbsp coconut oil (or sunflower oil)
1 tsp Maldon sea salt (or half a teaspoon of salt)
6 tbsp maple syrup (or agave nectar)
175g/ scant 2/3 cup smooth cashew nut butter (or smooth peanut butter)
1/ Heat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3. Mix together all of the ingredients and then spread out on a large baking tray (or two) in a fairly even layer- it’s okay for it all to be touching.
2/ Bake in the oven for about 30-40 minutes, or until lightly golden, turning once half way through. Generally speaking you know it’s ready when you can smell the roasting nuts. Allow it to cool and crispen up on the the tray before storing in an airtight container.