Having formerly been the biggest cereal whore going – and I mean literally a minimum of 2-3 bowls a day – granola has been the key to weaning me off the sugary good stuff. However, contrary to popular belief, the majority of shop-bought granola has higher sugar content than some of my favourite cereals; for example, in a 100g of Jordan’s Super Nutty Granola there is 16.6g carbohydrates of which sugars, as opposed to only 14.9g in Shreddies – and Jordan’s is on the lower end of the scale in comparison to other granola brands which have even higher sugar contents.
Enter homemade granola: an equally delicious yet far healthier alternative to the sugar ridden packeted stuff. Granted, it does take a little bit more effort than popping to the shops, but making your own is much more fulfilling and you can add whatever you like to it to tailor it to your own taste. My maple nut granola also contains desiccated coconut, dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds, packing it with loads of added extra nutritional goodness to kickstart your day. This recipe is refined sugar free and can be gluten free if you use GF oats.
- Raisins, flax seeds, chia seeds, cacao nibs are just some of the different ingredients you can sub in to tailor the granola to your own personal taste. You can also increase or decrease sweetness by adding or taking away maple syrup.
- Use a spatula to flip your granola whilst it’s baking in the oven, if you decide to make it with clusters (adding the egg white) be very careful not to break the chunks that will begin to form as it bakes.
- WARNING: oats and nuts burn very very quickly! One minute too long and you will have bitter tasting granola, so make sure the oven has your total attention throughout the bake.
- This granola tastes great on top of smoothies or porridge in the morning, or make it the star of your breakfast, and enjoy it plain with yoghurt or milk!
- Understandably, we don’t always have an hour and a half to spare baking granola, so my personal suggestions for shop bought granola with relatively low sugar content are Eat Natural: Nuts and Seeds (8g per 100g) and Lizzi’s Original Granola (9.1g per 100g).
Ingredients (yields 1 large container)
2 and 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup pecans
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup hazelnuts
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup coconut oil (melted)
3 tsp cinnamon
2 medium egg whites (optional – to create clusters)
1/4 cup dried cranberries chopped
- Preheat the oven to 180c. Combine the oats, sunflower seeds, desiccated coconut, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
- Add all the nuts and the pumpkin seeds to a food processor and process for 2-3 minutes until a chunky mixture is formed, then add this mixture to the large mixing bowl and combine with other ingredients.
- Heat the coconut oil with the maple syrup and cinnamon in a saucepan, and then slowly add to the dry ingredients ensuring everything in the bowl is coated evenly.
- If you are making clusters, whisk the egg whites in a separate bowl before mixing them into the main bowl, again distributing the liquid evenly.
- Place the mixture on a large baking tray, making sure the layer is not too thick (otherwise you will get an uneven bake). Bake for a total time of 30-40 minutes depending on your oven, but during that time you will need to flip the granola every 8-10 minutes.
- When the granola is just shy of a golden brown, remove from the oven and leave to cool and crunch up for around half an hour.
- When cool, mix in the cranberries and store in an air tight container ready to enjoy for breakfast the next day!