But why am I posting about granola? First of all, I've been munching on it all week, and it's sooo good. Second, those of you that live in France know that the granola sold in the grocery stores comes with your choice of... chocolate chunks (milk or dark) and although I've adopted many French customs, like eating a sweet breakfast every day and saying bonjour to everyone, I still can't get myself to eat chocolate in the mornings (and yes, that includes nutella and pain au chocolat). And third, homemade is always better.
Aside from all that, I wanted to add more whole grains to my diet. I hear they're good for you, and since the baguette is so yummy and so easy to get, I tend to eat it in the place of grains that I have to make myself... 10 minutes for quinoa is a long time when you're hungry and the bakery is spitting distance from your building... and I'm not exaggerating.
Although I started formulating this post in that big mushy organ in my cranium earlier this week, I woke up this morning to find that Yoga Journal had pre-empted my post with one of their own, so at least you can be reassured that this is yoga-ish related. Plus my recipe is easier than theirs.
A few more notes on Granola: I have a small serving in the mornings with plain yogurt and fruit, and perhaps a few bites for an afternoon snack. It is delicious, which means it has calories. The oats are caloric, as are the sugar and the nuts, so don't use the whole grain part as a 'hall pass' for eating an entire tray in a day, and if you manage to eat an entire tray in a day, please let me know, so I can be impressed with your stomach capacity. I don't pack the light brown sugar like the original recipe calls for, and even measure a bit shy of the 1.5 cups, so this recipe turns out lightly sweetened with a nice salty flavor. If you'd like it sweeter, and don't mind the extra calories, feel free to increase the sugar to 325g.
Easy Granola (adapted from Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee)
1 1/2 cups (280ish g) light brown sugar (Béghin Say Vergeoise Brune is at my local grocery store)
1/3 cup (80ml) water
4 cups (400g) rolled oats (Flocons d'Avoione) - or as a server in France once told my mom, 'horse food'.
1 cup (113g) pecans, coarsely chopped (or walnuts or any nut you like)
1 cup (113g) sunflower seeds (or any nut you like)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 tsp Maldon sea salt or other flaky salt (found at specialty grocery stores i.e. Bon Marché's Grocery or G. Detou)
1/3 cup vegetable oil (I use olive oil, as it's the only oil I have in the house)
2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 250 F (1120C).
In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar and water. Cook over medium high heat, stirring frequently, until sugar is completely dissolved, and the mixture comes to a light boil. Let cool to room temperature. Add Vanilla and oil and stir until thoroughly combined.
In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts , cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and mix well. Pour the sugar syrup over the oat mixture and mix well with your hands. I've tried other utensils, and they don't work as well. Lick the goodness off your hands then wash them. Transfer the granola to a rimmed baking sheet (13x18 in. or 33x46 cm) and Pat down in an even layer. Bake for 75 minutes. Remove from oven and use a large spatula to flip the granola keeping chunks as large as possible. Return the granola to the oven and bake for another 60ish minutes, until completely dry and no longer at all soft if you take a bite. Let cool before eating. Store in a tightly sealed container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. Ha. If it lasts that long. After baking, you can add any dried fruits.