I am not a natural morning person, but I have taught myself into becoming one. A few years ago I was working in Austria doing something that I did not enjoy. So getting up to go to work did not bring me any enthusiasm. I was going through the week hoping the weekend would come. 5/7 days I just wished time passed by faster. And at some point I realised how incredibly awful that was. I was not living in the present, but was constantly living in an imagined better future. Obviously enough, that made me really unhappy.
One day I forced myself into becoming a morning person as I wanted to wake up and do something that brings me joy. So I set my alarm clock one hour earlier than usual with the goal to invest that time in myself: blending smoothies, reading about nutrition, doing morning yoga routines. I took my time in having breakfast. I discovered the beauty of a slow morning.
This way I would wake up and do something that filled my day with good energy. I made a bridge between my sleep and my work and I made the maximum out of it. This helped a lot in coming back to the present moment, but did not solve my unhappy personal and professional context. So a few months later, I quit and moved back home (Bucharest).
Funny enough, that is also when I discovered granola. Late adopter, I know… After trying it several times I found it to be the perfect breakfast to sate my hunger in the morning. Not that müsli couldn’t do that, but who wants müsli after trying granola? I mean, what can be better than crisp, toasted and golden brown müsli? As pretty much all options on the market contained sugar, I started baking my own granola as I wanted to lower sugar consumption as much as possible. I mean, why include sugar in something that already tastes pretty damn good?
Since 2015 I have tried tons of recipes. I love that it is so adaptable to substitutions, you can add or take out pretty much anything and it still results in something good. I’ve eaten it with natural yogurt, milk, almond milk, coconut milk, green smoothies. I have used fancy superfoods, powders, or simple fruits. And truth is I’ve realized you just need to apply a few tips and tricks that are essential in baking a good granola.
Recipes I looked up on the internet have different baking times recommended. It depends on the oven, on how much time it was preheated, and eventually on the ingredients you use. My ideal baking time is, on average, 20 minutes. Half way through, I stir the granola with a wooden spoon. Always take a look on how it looks though, it can only take a few minutes for it to get burnt.
Nuts and seeds can go directly to the oven so they get toasty and fragrant while they bake. For dried fruit the story is different. Wait until the granola is finished, take it out from the oven and then toss them in. If you prefer them crunchier, just wait a few minutes before the baking time is over and throw them in stirring with a wooden spon. I’m talking gojiberries, blueberries, cranberries, currants, raisins, etc.
Right oven temperature is the key to dry not burnt granola. Recommended time is between 150 – 180 degrees C. I prefer to stick to a lower temperature (160) especially since I had already burnt my granola before. Higher temperature can cause some ingredients (nuts, seeds, coconut) to burn before the oats are dried out. My recommendation is to keep it low and work on your patience. 🙂
With these 3 things in mind you can be sure any granola recipe will work out well. Below the recipe that I use most often. I also like to add some fresh fruit when I eat it, especially during summer (blueberries, raspberries, seabuckthorn). It takes around 35 minutes to prepare and bake.
When I go on holiday or just feel too lazy, NativeBox has the best granola you could ever buy. I simply love one of their recipes containing thyme ♡
500g rolled oats
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup almonds whole or chopped (or any other nut)
2 tbsp raw cocoa powder
1 apple, chopped in tiny cubes
1/2 cups goji, aronia, or raisins
1/2 cup coconut oil (melted)
1/3 cup maple syrup (optional)
- Preheat the oven at 160 degrees C.
- Combine oats, salt, almonds, apple, cocoa powder in a large bowl and set aside.
- Melt the coconut oil and mix with dry mixture stirring well (with your hands or with a wooden spoon)
- Add the maple syrup and blend in.
- Spread the mixture onto an oven tray covered with baking paper (makes life so much easier).
- Bake 10 minutes, remove from oven and stir. Bake additional 10 minutes or until golden.
- Remove from oven and once cooled completely store in an airtight container.
This yields enough granola for about a week (for 2 people). Happy slow mornings!