Winter Granola is a treat that only bears qualities.
It’s delicious, easy to do, healthy and a wonderful homemade gift for Christmas.
Simply put, it’s the best way to stop giving way to our bad overconsumption habits during the Holidays. We know it: too much food and too many gifts often lead to uneaten leftovers and waste. Not to mention the last-minute buys you unconvincingly place under the Christmas tree (we’ve all done it) and which will most likely finish at the back of a drawer, at best (we all have some of those).
Craft your own granola as a gift for your loved ones and make them rediscover the pleasure of homemade goods, simple products, without the need for unnecessary and disposable packaging.
– With almond, cashew or soy milk for breakfast. Add chunks of banana, apple or some seasonal berries for extra deliciousness.
– On its own: it’s easy to grab a handful when you swing by the kitchen.
– With a vanilla soy yogurt as a snack.
– … or anyway you like it, really.
Cereals & Nuts:
– 1/3 cup buckwheat (previously soaked for 4 hours, or even better, germinated*)
– 1/3 cup oatmeal
– A small handful of grossly chopped almonds (previously soaked for 4 hours)
– A small handful of grossly chopped pecans
– 1 tbsp flax seeds
– 1 tbsp sunflower seeds
– 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
– 1 tbsp black sesame seeds
– 1 tsp ground cinnamon
– 1 tsp ground nutmeg
– ½ tsp ground ginger
– Seeds of a green cardamom pod
– A pinch of salt or fleur de sel
– Zest of a half orange (optional)
– 1 tbsp of chopped dried figs
– 1 tbsp of cranberries or goji berries
– 1 tbsp coconut oil (melted in a bain-marie)
– Juice of a half lemon
– 3 tbsp maple syrup
– Whip together the wet ingredients (coconut oil, lemon juice and maple syrup) and pour into your prep bowl.
– Add the cereals, nuts, seeds and spices, and stir well. If you don’t mind using your hands, it’s even better to ensure proper coating of every ingredient.
– Spread the whole mix on your oven baking tray. Turn on your oven to 150°C and place the tray in the oven at mid-height. Stir the mix every 10 minutes or so until it’s perfectly golden. 30 minutes should do it, more or less.
– Let the granola cool down on the tray. Mix it again and add the dried fruits. Your granola will become crunchy as it cools down.
If you’re the proud owner of a food dehydrator, you can incorporate the dried fruits to the mix from the start, spread everything on the tray and start the drying process for 12 hours at 42°C. Check your mix after that by turning over some pieces of granola, turn the tray over and let it dry for another 3 to 4 hours. If you’ve never heard of it, a food dehydrator is a wonderful kitchen tool which preserves the vitamins and enzymes of the ingredients since there is no cooking involved.
* How to sprout buckwheat seeds:
Germinated buckwheat seeds are easier to digest and more nutritive. Rinse the seeds and make them soak overnight (or 4 hours minimum) in a jar. Discard the water, rinse thoroughly and cover the jar with a piece of cloth (I personally use a piece of muslin cloth), secured with an elastic band. Turn over the jar to let the water seep through (the dish rack does the job perfectly). Rinse the seeds and repeat the operation every 12 hours until you see little sprouts. This can take up to 3 days.
For a gluten-free alternative, simply forget the oatmeal and double the quantity of buckwheat. Buckwheat is not a cereal, but a blossoming plant. It’s highly nutritive, packed with fibers and has a delicious nutty flavor.
Sesame seeds are an excellent source of calcium.
Almonds, oatmeal and sunflower seeds all contain proteins.
Cranberries are highly antioxidant.
Goji berries contain as much calcium as cow milk, and have so many interesting properties that it would be impossible to list them all here.
For recipes such as this one – that is, whose ingredients don’t need to be seared – I never preheat the oven. It’s a great way to save some energy.
Give away your granola in lovely glass jars. It’s best to preserve its taste and crunchiness and they have the added bonus of being reusable for other ingredients once the granola is all but gone. Decorate simply with a small pine, holly or mistletoe branch, or personalize it any other way you can think of.
Last but not least, use organic ingredients if you can manage!