Wednesday 11 January 2012

Cranberry, Almond & Sticky Date Granola

Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day and is something I always look forward to. I have always loved cereal but being coeliac means there is a limited number to choose from, although I must admit, there are starting to be a few more appear on the scene, but very few muesli’s or granola’s and even fewer without oats (pure or otherwise) which I also have to avoid. The simple solution to this is to concoct my own.

There are quite a vast range of gluten free flakes, puffs, ground crispy things available, that on their own can be quite bland and boring, but when mixed together, tossed with a few nuts, fruits and sprinkled with a little spice can become a breakfast muesli mix fit for a champion. For the past couple of weeks I have been craving something with a bit more of a granola style crunch and this morning I finally got round to baking some.

You can easily make your own granola by mixing a few flakes, puffs (or oats) with a little oil and honey before giving them a toast in the oven which helps makes them extra crisp and wonderfully toasty, while adding a little sweetness. I decided to spice things up a bit by adding a generous sprinkling of cinnamon, my favourite spice, along with some date syrup in place of the honey. The date syrup was sticky and mysterious, providing its own unique flavour and aroma much like molasses or black treacle. It smelt divine when baking in the oven, almost like gingerbread.

I used whole natural almonds for crunch and ground flax for fibre as some gluten free grains can be rather over processed. I also added a little flaked coconut halfway through baking, which become lovely and toasty in the oven and went so well with the date syrup. A scatter of dried cranberries stirred though at the end brought chew and their wonderful sweet yet tart flavour to the mix.

The buckwheat puffs let off the aroma of toasting popcorn while baking which mingled with the sweet spices was a lovely combination. All of the different flakes and ingredients took on their own unique texture. Some were crunchy, others crisp, nutty or chewy. Subtly sweet, slightly tart, lightly spiced and toasted, together this made for one yummy granola, just what I’d been craving.

The beauty of making your own means you can add whatever ingredients you like, so I urge you to give it a go! Served with milk, fruit, yoghurt or simply eaten out the container by the handful, it makes for a great start to the day.

Cranberry, Almond & Sticky Date Granola
60g gluten free cornflakes
30g buckwheat flakes
30g brown rice flakes
30g buckwheat puffs
25g flax/linseeds
40g skin on almonds
25g flaked coconut
1 tsp cinnamon
60g dried cranberries
2 tbsp neutral oil (I used rapeseed)
2 tbsp date syrup

Preheat the oven to 170C.
Chop the almonds in half and place them into a large bowl along with the flakes and puffs.
Pulse the flax seeds in a small processor until crushed and broken, but do not blitz for too long or they will start to turn to mush. (You need to crack them to release their goodness as the body can’t break down their skin if left whole). Add them to the bowl and scatter over the cinnamon.
Mix the oil and date syrup together in a glass and then pour over the dry ingredients. Mix and toss everything together well, ensuring that all the ingredients are lightly coated in the syrup.
Pour the mixture onto a large baking tray with sides. Shake gently to spread the mixture into an even layer and bake for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, weigh out the coconut and cranberries and keep to one side.
When the 10 minutes are up, remove the tray from the oven, scatter over the coconut and mix everything together to ensure an even browning.
Return the tray to the oven and bake for 8 minutes more. Keep an eye on it as you don’t want the coconut to burn.
Remove the pan from the oven, scatter over the cranberries and mix well. Leave the granola to cool on the tray before storing in an airtight container until required.
Delicious eaten ever so slightly warm when just out the oven, or for breakfast with fresh fruit and yoghurt.


Monica H said...

That looks delicious and perfect for snacking.

The Caked Crusader said...

I think a really good granola packed with flavour can set you up the day in style!