Crunchy granola goodness

Because most store-bought granola contains lots of processed sugar and fat, I prefer to make my own. Homemade granola is easy to make and it tastes better. It’s also versatile. You can substitute the ingredients with other nuts, grains and seeds without changing the baking procedure. You can even add dried fruit.

Buckwheat plant

This recipe contains healthy, wholesome ingredients. There’s no white or brown sugar or other artificial sweetners. Instead, it’s sweetened with a jam-like syrup made with medjool dates, pure maple syrup and vegetable or grape seed oil. When the granola is done, you can’t even see or taste the dates and the maple syrup is very mild. The end result is a crunchy and clustery granola with a subtle sweetness.

There’s also raw buckwheat in this recipe. I love buckwheat. Though often thought of as a grain, buckwheat isn’t a type of wheat or grain; it’s a fruit seed that comes from a flowering plant related to rhubarb and sorrel. Mixing buckwheat groats with pumpkin and sunflower seeds gives the granola that extra crunch.

Buckwheat has numerous health benefits and people with wheat allergies or gluten intolerance often substitute grains with buckwheat. However, even if you don’t follow a gluten-free diet or have allergies, cooking or baking with buckwheat is a healthy alternative.

For breakfast, I often top up a bowl of natural bifidus yoghurt with crunchy granola and lots of fresh fruit. If like me, you don’t like the taste of natural yoghurt on its own but want to benefit from its probiotic and calcium content, then this is a great way to start your day!

Crunchy granola

Ingredients

Dry

  • 1½ cups rolled oats, no sugar added
  •  ¾ cup buckwheat groats
  •  ½ cup raw almonds with skins (or other nuts), coarsely chopped
  •  ½ cup raw pumpkin seeds
  •  ½ cup raw sunflower seeds
  •  ½ teaspoon (tsp) sea salt
  •  ½ tsp powdered cinnamon
  •  ½ tsp pure ground vanilla

Wet

  • 5 fresh medjool dates, pitted
  • 4 tablespoons (tbsps) grape seed or vegetable oil
  • 4 tbsps pure maple syrup
Raw buckwheat groats

Procedure

Heat oven at 160°C / 320°F

1 large baking sheet (approx. 40X35cm/16X14inch) lined with parchment paper.

In a large bowl add and mix with a big spoon the dry ingredients.

Soften the pitted dates in a small bowl of hot water for a few minutes and discard the water. Chop the dates into small pieces. In a small dipper on stove top, mix and heat the maple syrup with the oil. Add the chopped dates and simmer and mix whilst banging the dates with a wooden spoon until they dissolve. Simmer on low heat for 3 minutes. You should end up with a syrup that looks like jam.

Pour the syrup into the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix with a spoon until all ingredients are well blended.

Spread the granola evenly and pat it down on the baking sheet into one large thin rectangular mass. Bake in the centre of the oven for 20 minutes. Do not stir the granola as you want it to stick together and form clusters here and there. After 20 minutes, take the baking sheet out and turn it around so that the front part is in the back of the oven. Bake for another 5-6 minutes, until the edges are brown. Watch it closely, as you don’t want the granola to burn. It should be well done with brown edges, but not burnt.

What the granola looks like before going into the oven.

Take it out of the oven and let the granola sit in the pan to cool (it will continue to cook slightly in the hot pan). Again, do not stir the granola. When completely cool, scoop out the granola in parts, breaking up the larger clusters by hand, and transfer spoon by spoon into a glass container.

This granola keeps in a sealed glass container for about 2 weeks. You can also freeze portions in reusable freezer bags for up to one month.

For breakfast or a snack, top your bifidus yoghurt, milk or nut milk with granola and fresh fruit. If you want, you can add dried fruit to the cooked granola. It’s what you prefer.

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Julie Zimmer

Julie has extensive experience in nursing practice and education in a wide range of fields from intensive/coronary care, to medical-surgical to community and public health. Julie has Bachelor Degrees in Psychology and Nursing, and a Master’s Degree in Community Health Nursing Education. She has taught in faculties of nursing and in various communities in Toronto, Canada and in Geneva, Switzerland, and is a consultant to the International Council of Nurses (ICN). Julie also has years of experience teaching English as a foreign language (EFL) in addition to coordinating an English department in a Swiss private school.

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