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Sunday, 10 September 2017

Sweet Heat Maple Granola

I tried to get on board with granola but there is something about the store bought ones that are just not up to my taste. They are either too sweet, taste chemically (if there is such a word), or contain ingredients that I am not a fan of.  So after trying out the different brands on the market, I managed to narrow down the ingredients that I tend to like in my granola - it's all about the nuts and definitely no dried fruits in it.

Then back in 2015, when I was in NYC, I had a bowl of fresh fruits granola with yoghurt for brunch. There was something about the taste of the granola that I totally love - it tasted fresh, nutty, sweet and there was a hint of heat as an after taste. I love it.

When I returned to London, I searched high and low for granola which had a bit of heat every time I walk on the granola aisle in supermarkets. I even tried online, but couldn't find any. Alas, I resorted to finding recipes online and stumbled upon this recipe from the website Macheeso. Since this discovery, I have been making batches and batches of granola and I have never looked back since. So today I thought I'd share the original recipe here (with a side note on the changes that I made to put a personal twist to my very own homemade granola).

Ingredients
2/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup coconut oil (melt it in the microwave for 10-20 seconds as coconut oil tends to be in solid form at room temperature)
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp cayenne pepper (I tend to use 1.5 tsp for the extra heat)
4 cups rolled oats - always use the original version; not the instant microwavable version (I tend to reduce the portion to 3 cups)
1 cup roasted and chopped cashews (I tend to use 200g of almonds, chopped)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (I tend to use 100g of pistachio kernels i.e. shelled out)
1/4 cup sesame seeds (not used)
1.5 - 2 cups chopped dried apples (not used)

As you can see above, you can change up the recipe to your liking - you can add more nuts (like what I often do) and add whatever dried fruits that you like or remove it altogether if you don't like them or don't have it in your pantry.

Method
Easy peasy!

1. Put all the dried ingredients into a large bowl, and then pour the maple syrup, coconut oil and vanilla essence. Mix it all up to ensure the ingredients is evenly coated with the maple syrup and oil.

2. Once done, spread the granola onto a large baking sheet (I tend of spread it over two baking sheets).

3. Bake the granola in the oven between 30-40 minutes at 150 degrees Celsius. I tend to check the granola at 15 minutes mark and give it a quick stir to ensure it is evenly cooked. You will know that the granola is done when it's no longer sticky - it should be light and dry.

4. Remove it from the oven, let it cool and keep it in an air-tight container.

I like to have mine with Greek yogurt and fruits. Or if I am short of time, I'll have it with milk, just like having a bowl of cereal.

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