Crunchy Cinnamon Granola

It’s gluten-free, refined sugar-free and yes totes delicious. Do you want the recipe?

Save time & batch cook…

So it’s bulk granola day at my house. I make a 2-3kg batch every time so it lasts us a while. It’s a little effort, not strain thanks @garagestudiopilates! But so so worth it!

I fill my Larder with dozens of old glass @larderjamza jars topped with this divine granola. I know its silly but it makes me feel a little bit better reusing these jars constantly.

Keeping kids healthy is not easy

Fueling kids to face the crazy school & life schedule can be overwhelming to say the least. Batch cooking, filling your larder is a great way to stock up the pantry, saving you money in the long run too. I weened my kids from their Kelloggs addiction since moving to SA. Luring them with the smells of maple syrup caramelising on the granola. I tested a few different recipes on them, saw how far I could push the healthy vibes and landed on this combo. Mine love it for brekkie or just as a snack in their lunchbox dry as the granola clusters with the coconut oil and maple.

What sugars to use?

A combo is best in this recipe, to try to match the commercial sweetness as best as possible. Honey if you are not vegan, or maple syrup as you need to coat the oats in oil and sweetness to give it the crunch. Look out for unrefined Natura sugars, it reaps much less havoc on one’s system than normal sugar. What they do is keep the natural molasses of the sugar cane rather than refining it out. It’s totally free of colourants and additives or preservatives. So fewer sugar spikes, resulting in a slower release of energy. Coconut sugar is another amazing sugar that is in the healthy zone, but If you don’t have any of these, normal sugar is fine just keep it to a minimum.

Extra tip

You can use a shop-bought date syrup but I find this can have an intense taste which my kids spot immediately. When I have time I make date syrup in my @thermomixuk and substitute half the honey and sugar with this for a #caramel vibe. Pour 250ml boiling water over a bowl of 500g pitted dates. If you have a Nutribullet then blitz it into a paste, or pop it in your food processor until smooth. Then tip this paste into a pan adding more another 250ml and stirring while simmering to make a thick syrup. It only takes 5-8 minutes. The caramel-butterscotch vibes are divine. If you have not heard about the magic of a Thermomix, take a peek. As a trained chef I used to turn my nose up when asked about them, but actually having played with them they are amazing! This gadget gives you life, time and have helped some of my friends love cooking! https://thermomix.vorwerk.co.uk/

Spice it up

Add some spices that you like, I like to use ginger, cardamom and cinnamon. Cinnamon is fav in this house, I love it because it packed with antioxidants, has anti-inflammatory properties, helping our bodies fight infection and repair tissue damage. It’s the anti-diabetic power spice. Our bodies produce a hormone called insulin in the pancreas. This hormone manages our metabolism, our energy centre, transporting our blood sugar to our cells. Often lifestyle and diet can knock us out of whack, altering our insulin production or cells become less responsive to insulin. Cinnamon improves your insulin sensitivity, reducing insulin resistance, lowing blood sugar levels.

Ceylon or Cassia Cinnamon?

But keep an eye out as there are 2 types of cinnamon. Both are great for lowering blood sugars, but Ceylon cinnamon is the true hero. Cassia being the more common cheaper Chinese cousin. I’ve read that Cassia has a toxin that’s harmful in larger doses, so I avoid it. How to spot the difference, Ceylon is fine and lighter in colour, has a delicate sweet flavour. Cassia sticks are thicker and the ground version has a grainy rougher texture and has a much stronger, spicy flavour.

Ginger

This spice is also anti-inflammatory. Did you know that it can reduce pain as well as nausea? I had ginger with everything when I was pregnant! I don’t know why it was called “morning sickness”, mine was all day! It’s is a great spice to add to your diet if you suffer from travel sickness or are having chemotherapy.

Experiment within your comfort zone, you know your kids best. Try putting a little more coconut sugar and syrup to start then as they get hooked. Then reduce the sugar and syrup until I reached the comfort zone. Try what works the best for you and the kids.

So go ahead, get busy, start with 1kg batch like the recipe suggests and then bulk up when you are comfortable. Make sure not to overfill your oven trays as it will take forever for your granola to go crunchy. I spread mine in 3 trays to get a good even texture.

When you have jars in the cupboard, you can sprinkle over ice cream or yoghurt for quick desserts, spoon over cooked fruit for crumbles. For a weekend breakfast treat, we like to stir in @larderjamza Cherry, ginger & vanilla jam into Philip’s incredible @milkwooddairy Greek yoghurt with granola. Totally divine!

Crunchy cinnamon granola

PREP TIME: 5 minutes

COOK TIME: 30 minutes plus 30 min cooling

MAKES just over 1.5kg

INGREDIENTS

1kg of jumbo rolled oats, i use gluten free oats

¾ cups/ 115g brown sugar or coconut sugar

½ cup / 90g sunflower seeds

1/3 cup/ 50g sesame seeds

½ cup / 90g  unsweetened desiccated coconut

½ cup coconut oil

½ cup maple syrup/ honey

1 tbsp ground cinnamon, I use Ceylon cinnamon

1/2 tbsp ground ginger, optional

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 coconut shavings, optional

PREHEAT the oven to 180C.

MIX the oats, sugar, seeds & coconut in a large baking tray.

BAKE the oat mix for 10 minutes, stirring half way through

HEAT the coconut oil gently with the honey, spices and vanilla until dissolved ( add the date syrup if using)

REDUCE the heat to 160C

POUR over the oil & honey mix over the dry ingredients & mix well to coat.

RETURN to the oven & bake for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes to allow even cooking. You want a golden colour but take care not to burn. The granola will firm up as it cools. If it’s not crunchy enough you can always pop it back in, but you don’t want to burn the coconut.

COOL completely, tip into jars or airtight containers. I use my jam funnel which has a wide lip which makes it easier to fill, or you will have oats all over your kitchen floor! Then you can add a cup of raisins, nuts or chopped dried mango if you feel like it.