In my last blog post, I mentioned that whilst on holiday in New Zealand I picked up some ideas for recipe posts. Now that I’m back in the real world, the question is where do I start? I’ve decided to start at the beginning – of the day – with breakfast. This apricot and almond granola is based on a general dry cereal recipe (not specifically apricot and almond) that my mother-in-law gave me, and which (if I remember correctly) originally comes from a cookbook called the More-with-Less Cookbook by Doris Janzen Longacre. I’m not sure I’ve reached the great standard of granola made by my MIL, which first inspired me to ask for the recipe on which the one below is based, but she does have years of practice over me! The ingredient quantities below are based on a 250 ml mug equalling one cup, and I ended up with about 1kg of finished granola. Good thing we like it, because we’re going to be eating it for a while!
What you’ll need:
3 cups oats
1 cup mixed seeds
1 1/2 cups almonds
1 1/2 cups wholegrain spelt flour
Pinch salt (optional)
1 cup boiling water and honey (I prefer using 3/4 cup honey and 1/4 cup water, but adjust these quantities according to your preference)
2 cups chopped dried apricots
What to do:
1. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 2 (150ºC or 300ºF).
2. Roughly chop the almonds or (my preferred method) put them into a freezer bag and smash them with a rolling pin until they’ve broken into a range of sizes.
3. Put the oats, seeds, almonds, flour and salt (if you’re using salt) into a large bowl and mix together.
4. Pour the water/honey into the bowl and mix everything together thoroughly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture is coming together in large clumps. Towards the end of this process, I found it easiest to dispense with the wooden spoon and finish off with my hands.
5. Spread the mixture in a thin layer over a couple of large baking trays. When I made this, it seemed fine not to grease the pans first (plus it saves an extra step and a bit of mess).
6. Bake the mixture in the middle of the pre-heated oven for about an hour, stirring and breaking up the clumps a couple of times during that process. If you want it extra crunchy and/or the mixture is in quite a thick layer in the pans you may need to leave it in the oven for a bit longer than the hour. The granola should be golden brown and a bit crunchy when it is time to take it out of the oven.
7. When the granola has finished baking, take it out the oven, stir it round again and break up any large clumps, and then leave it to one side to cool completely.
8. When the granola has cooled, tip it back into a large bowl, add the apricots to the bowl and mix everything together thoroughly. The apricots I used were quite moist – if I make this with similarly wet (despite being dried!) apricots again, I’ll probably chop them to about a half or third of the size I did and put them in the oven on a baking sheet for five minutes or so after taking out the granola to dry them out a little before using them.
9. Store in an airtight container until needed.