I like granola for many reasons. I relish the nubbly textures and biscuit flavours, I enjoy the rustle and clatter as it is tipped from jar to bowl and I marvel at its versatility as I adorn yet another bowl of something creamy with shards of crumbling oat. However, it is the ‘making’ that truly steals my heart, there is something about stirring a tumbled pile of oats and nuts with a stream of sweet, silken syrup that leaves me immensely satisfied. I like to use a big bowl and a sturdy wooden spoon, wielding it haphazardly until oats scatter the floor. This is the part of baking I loved most as a child, the merging of one mass into another, a texture change, the magical science of food. That magic continues after I’ve spread the mixture onto a baking tray, when I slide it into the oven and it toasts to crisp, crunchy perfection. As it bakes it fills my home with the promising scent of breakfasts to come; cinnamon, maple and gently roasted almond. Once it’s cool I like to scoop it, spoon by spoon into a big glass jar and stash the jar away in the manner of a squirrel.
This particular recipe is both indulgent and sustaining, and requires a surprisingly small amount of sugar. It bakes to a rich, nutty brown flecked with pumpkin seeds and spiked with orange zest. The dark chocolate chips meld beautifully with both the roasted almonds and the spiced, citrus notes. Almond butter acts as a binding agent here, along with coconut oil and a little maple syrup. I would assume this can be recreated with any assortment of nut butter that took your fancy, if you have any success do let me know about it. I love to scatter this sweet rubble over porridge, allowing the chocolate chips to melt. It is perfect with cold milk or spooned over yogurt and fruit. I would even go as far as to use this as an apple crumble topping or to add crunch to bowls of ice cream. Oats are winter’s fuel, and this is one of my favourite ways to enjoy them.
Almond Butter Granola
(Makes a large jar)
135g Rolled Oats (GF if necessary)
40g chopped hazelnut
35g flaked almonds
75g whole almonds
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp fresh nutmeg
Zest of 1 large orange plus ½ its juice
1.5 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp coconut oil
6 tbsp almond butter
50g dark chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 170°C/ 150°C Fan/Gas mark 3 and prepare a large baking tray
- Weigh out and add all dry ingredients, besides the chocolate chips to a large mixing bowl.
- Measure the coconut oil, maple syrup, orange zest, orange juice and almond butter into a small pan or microwavable dish and melt gently until liquid.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix thoroughly.
- Empty the mix onto two baking trays and spread evenly.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes agitating the granola with a spatula half way through.
- The granola is ready when it is no longer damp and has browned slightly
- Remove the tray from the oven and allow to cool completely. The granola will become drier and crisper as it cools.
- Once cool combine with the chocolate chips and transfer into a sealable jar, bag or Tupperware. It should keep for a few weeks if stored well.
- Serve with milk, yogurt or ice cream. I like it best scattered it over porridge, the chocolate chips melt and the warms brings out the wonderful orange aroma.