Earlier this month, I shared how coffee is an unwavering part of the morning routine in our household. It’s the fuel that literally kick starts every day of the week for us. Just as necessary as that first cup of joe, however, is a speedy, nutritious breakfast that compliments both my husband’s busy schedule & the need for my morning fare to actually taste good. At the weekend, it’s not uncommon for us to take a more leisurely approach to our first meal of the day. A typical Turkish breakfast known as “Menemen” is a beloved beginning for us both; a dish that combines traditional beef sausage, tomatoes, peppers, & scrambled eggs until just set. Served with freshly toasted bread, plentiful feta cheese, & a delicious sour cherry jam, it’s our favorite way to start a Saturday. When it comes to breakfast during the week, however, we don’t have time for eggs, pastries are an occasional weekend treat, & fruit simply doesn’t suffice. So cereal it is.
Bored of All-Bran, I began experimenting with granola recipes several years ago when I first realized most typical weekday breakfast options were far from satisfying & to be frank, rather mundane. In my quest for variation & fulfillment, I paused to pick up a box of granola in the cereal aisle one day. Before committing it to my cart, however, I stopped to review the long list of ingredients printed in minuscule text on the packaging. Horrified to discover sugar second on the lineup after oats, I quickly returned the box to its home on the neatly stocked shelf. A conversation with my husband later that evening sparked an interest in us both & for what felt like weeks, we made a point of researching store-bought granola; the poker faced breakfast food fooling us all into believing it to be a healthy alternative to sugar-coated o’s or flakes.
Perplexed by the high quantity of sugar & sneaky sugar substitutes in almost every variety we reviewed, not to mention being baffled by several ingredients we couldn’t pronounce, I turned to investigating how to create my own granola at home. As with anything popular & widely consumed, there are hundreds upon hundreds of recipe variations combining oats, nuts, seeds, & dried fruit, & after much experimentation I firmly believe that there isn’t really a right or wrong way of doing it, it’s truly a matter of personal taste. That being said, my go-to recipe is a favorite in our kitchen; a tried & trusted combination of simple ingredients, yielding a slightly tacky version with occasional clumps for a breakfast cereal that pairs perfectly with Greek yoghurt.
Beyond the fact that it’s rather tasty, knowing exactly what’s in my morning meal choice is wonderfully comforting. In addition, homemade granola is an unapologetically quick breakfast staple for the 2019 entrepreneur, who often juggles numerous tasks before the workday has even started. There are few households that care to deal with scores of dirty dishes at the beginning of the day, let alone face the stress of determining how to efficiently nourish the mind & body before the 7am commute. With a little forward planning (I often make granola on Sunday evening), a week’s worth of morning meals can be taken care of with very little effort, & if by Thursday your fuel is beginning to resemble the boring breakfast of the cereal aisle, the addition of a little fresh fruit helps to mix things up a bit!
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 - 25 minutes
Serves: 6-8 servings
3 1/2 cups (315g / 11 oz) rolled oats
1 1/2 cups (90g / 3 oz) coconut flakes
1 cup (150g / 5 ½ oz) whole almonds
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup (75ml) honey
2/3 cup (150ml) vegetable or coconut oil
6-8 large medjool dates, pitted and chopped into small pieces
If using a convection or fan oven, preheat the oven to 325°F / 160°C. For conventional oven baking, set the oven to 350°F / 180°C.
Combine oats, coconut, whole almonds, cinnamon, & salt in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly.
If using coconut oil, which is solid at room temperature, place inside a microwavable measuring jug large enough to hold 1 cup of liquid & heat until fluid in the microwave. This should take no more than 30-40 seconds. Add honey to the oil & lightly whisk until combined.
Pour the combined liquid into the dry ingredients & stir thoroughly until the oats, coconut, & almonds are well coated.
Line an 18” x 13” sheet pan with parchment then empty the contents of the bowl onto it, spreading evenly to ensure the granola bakes uniformly.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until golden, removing gently to mix the granola every 8-10 minutes or so to ensure it cooks evenly.
Once golden, remove from the oven & allow to cool completely before transferring the granola to a large bowl. Note, the cooled granola will be a tad sticky & clumpy. Break it up to your desired consistency (I like some clumps!) using your hands or a wooden spoon.
As seen on Culturally Ours.