I love convenience in the morning. Even better when it's a decadent yet healthy convenience that comes in under budget!
Have you ever pondered one of life's age-old questions - what is the difference between granola and muesli? You are not alone. The quick answer is this: Muesli and Granola tend to feature the same ingredients, but they are prepared differently.
Muesli (both the raw and toasted type) & Granola are all made up of a combination of oats, seeds, fruits and nuts. Raw muesli is enjoyed in its natural state, while toasted muesli is oven baked til a little crunchy. Cold or warm milk is added, plus sometimes yoghurt and fresh fruit. Granola goes a step further, in that: it has some oil and sweetener added, and then it's baked; the fat and sugar help the mixture turn into crunchy clusters of deliciousness. In this recipe, we also add almond meal to help bind the granola clusters together.
Ready-made granola clusters aren't the cheapest thing to buy. Sure, they're truly yummy, but when you have a kid who can eat half a box in one sitting, you're suddenly motivated to seek out wallet-friendly alternatives!
I always assumed granola clusters would be trickier to make than regular toasted muesli, but yay, I was wrong! This granola recipe takes minimal time and cost to make, and you can tailor the ingredients to suit everyone.
What I especially love about this granola is the option to break it into bite sized morsels to be enjoyed with milk, or leave it in bigger shards, making it a portable breakfast on the go. And if you want to dip it in your morning cuppa, you'll get no judgement from us!
Makes approx 3 cups
Prep time: 10 mins, Cooking time: 40 mins
1 ½ cups rolled oats
¼ cup almond meal
¾ cup slivered almonds
¼ cup pepitas
¼ cup sunflower kernels
¼ cup shredded coconut
½ tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp coconut oil or any oil of choice
⅓ cup honey or maple syrup
½ tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 160°c/140°c fan forced Line a large, rimmed baking tray with baking paper.
Combine oats,almond meal, almonds, seeds, coconut, cinnamon and salt in a large mixing bowl.
In a small saucepan combine coconut oil, honey or maple syrup and vanilla extract and heat until it comes to the boil and everything is melted together. Take off heat and pour the hot liquid over the oat mixture in the bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula to combine well. Make sure you get right to the bottom of the bowl so all dry ingredients get well covered in the oil and honey mixture.
Spread mixture evenly around the baking tray to create a thin, even layer. Press the mixture firmly into the tin, going to all 4 corners, like you're making a giant muesli bar.
Put the baking tray in the oven. After 20 mins carefully swivel the tray 180° to ensure the granola cooks evenly, then bake for a further 15-20 mins (so you're baking for about 35-40 mins in total).
When your granola looks beautifully golden it's almost ready. However - and this step is crucial for crunchy granola - don't take it out of the oven yet! Turn the oven off, sprinkle your fruit over the granola,partially open the oven door and leave the granola inside while it cools, about 20-30 mins.
Take the cooled tray out of the oven. Break the solid sheet of granola into shards and pieces. Whether you crumble it all into small, bite sized pieces or leave it in muesli bar chunks is personal preference.
Store completely cooled granola in an airtight container in the pantry for up to a month.
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Dried fruit goes wonderfully with granola: try ½ to 1 cup of Cranberries, raisins, sultanas or currants. Adding dried fruit to granola involves a little care - just adding it into the mix doesn't cut it, as the fruit will become too hard to chew. There are 2 methods that work: you can either add it after baking. It won't be a part of the clusters but it will still add that delicious flavour. Or there's another way that involves a little forethought: pre-soak the fruit for 30 mins in regular tap water before draining and adding to the granola mixture. Soaking the fruit means you can incorporate it into the clusters and it won't overcook and harden.
Use different nuts instead of almonds, like chopped pecans, cashews or hazelnuts.
Instead of almond meal try hazelnut meal, oat bran, wheatgerm or LSA.
A delicious flavour combo is hazelnut and cacao nibs. Simply use hazelnut meal and chopped hazelnuts in place of almond meal and slivered almonds, then throw in ¼ cup cacao nibs.