We’re coming up to the end of the year which means Christmas is almost upon us.
I do love this time of the year although I find that it’s almost impossible not to indulge with all the seasonal events and parties. Similarly, while I’m always grateful for presents people often give chocolates and biscuits at this time of year meaning that I tend to find myself eating a lot of treats at home as well.
So when preparing a home-made gift for family and friends each year I often opt for something savoury or healthy. Last year I gave away jars of chilli and tomato sauce and this year I’m making toasted granola.
Now I know it’s only the first week of December but I do find planning ahead is absolutely essential at this time of year. So I buy the jars, ribbons, tags and ingredients to make this gift well in advance so that when I come to make the granola just before Christmas I have everything I need already in the house.
Granola is super easy to make — you basically mix some ingredients in a bowl and then bake them — and is always a tasty and nutrient-dense breakfast option. I’ve used cranberries, goji berries and coconut for their appropriately festive look but feel free to substitute your favourite fruits and jams, too – as long as you keep the ratios the same you can use any mixture of dried fruits and nuts you like.
This granola is egg, dairy and refined sugar free (the Rosa’s cranberry and orange sauce I used contains no sugar). Do taste the mixture when you’ve finished mixing it and adjust the mount of honey to suit your own personal preference in terms of sweetness. I like making the uncooked mixture slightly less sweet than usual knowing that the cranberries I add later will sweeten up the granola.
- 750 grams rolled oats
- 400 grams natural almonds
- 420 grams apple puree or compote
- 100 mls honey, melted
- 4 tablespoons neutral tasting vegetable oil eg sunflower oil
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean essence
- 150 grams cranberry and orange sauce (can substitute with marmalade or fig jam)
- 150 grams dried cranberries
- 150 grams dried goji berries
- 150 grams dried coconut pieces
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line three baking trays with baking paper.
- Mix oats, almonds, apple, oil, cinnamon, vanilla, jam/sauce and honey in a large bowl until thoroughly combined.
- Spread evenly over baking trays and then bake for 15-20 minutes until nicely toasted.
- Use a large spoon to mix up the cooking mixture to avoid burning and then swap trays around in the oven - this helps them cook evenly.
- Bake granola for another 15-20 minutes -- make sure it doesn't brown too much -- and then remove trays from oven and leave to cool completely
- In a large bowl, mix together granola with cranberries, goji berries and coconut.
- Scoop into appropriate jars or tins and decorate with a festive ribbon. Makes enough to fill one large jar and four smaller ones, or up to eight small jars.