I love cereal. I seldom eat it for breakfast, though, preferring hot and/or savoury things instead, such as toast, eggs, oatmeal, etc. However, I thoroughly enjoy eating cereal for lunch, dinner or a snack. If my husband is working late or out with friends one night, a bowl of cereal and a trashy movie is all I need for a splendid evening.
You’ll rarely find store-bought granola in my pantry. It’s not that I don’t like store-bought, but the sugar and calorie content in most of the brands at my grocery store are a wee bit high for me. Like granola bars, I’ve found that the store-bought versions generally have as much fat/sugar as a dessert, and I’d rather have the dessert.
I realize that the recipe I’m sharing today has a fair amount of sugar and is full of high-fat nuts and coconut, but since there are a limited number of whole-food ingredients (all of which I am able to pronounce) and I’ve made it at home, I feel slightly better about the indulgence. Nuts are a healthy fat anyway, right?
Calorie counting aside, this granola is undeniably tasty. While it bakes, the oats, slivered almonds, sunflower seeds and shredded coconut toast up golden brown and crunchy, and the dried mango and papaya tossed in at the end drive home the tropical flavour. There are no spices or seasonings added, as I think the flavours of the ingredients stand on their own. If you decide that it’s missing something, feel free to add spices such as cinnamon, ginger or cardamom to suit your taste.
The granola will become crunchier as it cools and dries, while the dried fruits retain their chewy, sweet bite. I like having this simply with some milk (dairy, soy, or otherwise), or with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt. As with most granola, you can add fresh fruit if you like – mango, peaches, and bananas would be good with this version. I’ve also been known to grab a handful dry from the container and eat it on its own…
One recipe makes quite a lot – 12 good-sized servings – so you can make this on the weekend and savour the taste of the tropics all week long for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and everything in between.
- 4 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup raw unsalted sunflower seeds
- 1 cup slivered almonds
- 2 cups shredded coconut
- ½ cup maple syrup
- ¼ cup honey
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- ⅓ cup finely sliced dried mango
- ⅓ cup finely sliced dried papaya
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Butter or spray two baking sheets and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the oats, sunflower seeds, almonds and coconut.
- In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the maple syrup, honey and oil. Cook and stir until honey is dissolved and the mixture is warmed through, then remove from heat. Pour warm syrup mixture over oat/nut mixture and mix well, until all the dry ingredients are well covered.
- Spread mixture evenly over the two prepared baking sheets and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, and rotating the trays halfway through the cooking time. (Watch it carefully around the edges - it can burn easily towards the end of its cooking time, especially if your oven has hot spots.)
- Transfer cooked granola to a large bowl and add the dried mango and papaya slices. Serve immediately, or wait until it cools. Granola will become more crunchy as it cools, and will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 month.
Source: Adapted from Luscious: Simply Delicious Food by Michele Cranston (Marie Claire)