There are many false stereotypes regarding Californians, but one that I completely embody is that WE LOVE GRANOLA. I certainly do. I eat it for breakfast almost every day. When I moved to Australia and discovered it wasn't really a thing here, I was horrified. Seeing how expensive a skimpy box of UNTOASTED "muesli" was, I realised I would have to take matters into my own hands if I wanted to survive. Thus I devised this recipe for granola, or toasted muesli if you must, that I will now share with you.
My roommate and I used to have a fanatical devotion to this stuff, and the weekly toasting became something of a ritual. Finishing off the supply without making more was tantamount to treason. Just remember, the process is infinitely customisable and in no way an exact science. I don't give measurements here because it all varies on what taste you want and how much you've got. In any case, its extremely easy to make and much cheaper and tastier (and probably healthier) than the store bought stuff.
Rolled oats from the market
WHAT I PUT IN IT
-Organic rolled oats
-Ground peanuts (crushed by hand or in a coffee grinder)
Ready to go!
To get all this stuff, I suggest buying in bulk. In Perth there is a wonderful store called Kakulas Brothers (and Kakulas Sisters in Fremantle) where I get everything. It's extremely cheap, so I tend to stock up and then deplete my stash gradually.
Have you tried cacao nibs?
If you've never tried cacao nibs, they are the raw form of chocolate before it gets processed. Supposedly its good for you, but I just love the dark smokey flavour The goji berries are a tasty addition, and they also are a good source of antioxidants and vitamin A. The flax seeds are also nutritious -- since I'm a vegetarian, I eat them as much as possible to supplement my Omega-3 acids. Basically, it comes down to adding whatever sounds good to you, but I recommend including at least one type of nut and dried fruit with the oats for texture.
The nuance in the recipe is all about the toasting. I toast it in stages: the things that go in first get nice and toasty while the things that go in last stay fresh.
HOW TO DO IT:
Rolled oats, nuts, seeds, and cacao mixed together
Heat the oven to around 220 and fill an oven dish with your rolled oats. You can use as much as you want, but try not to fill it too deep because then it won't toast evenly. At this stage, I add only the nuts, seeds, and cacao to the mix and stir them through. It is also possibly to glaze the oats with honey or sugar syrup to really make them crisp up, but I skip that in favor of dousing mine with fresh honey right before eating.
Pop your dish in the oven for about 30 minutes, giving it a stir every 10 minutes to make sure the toastiness is evenly distributed. Once the nuts are becoming golden-brown around the edges, its almost ready.
At this stage, I add the coconut flakes and goji berries. I discovered that lightly toasting the gojis unlocks a delicious crispiness, but they also taste great fresh and probably healthier that way. Put the dish back in the oven for literally one minute. The coconut browns really fast, so keep an eye on it and don't let it burn!
Once that's done, you can take your dish out and add the dried fruit. Let it cool, then transfer to an airtight jar for freshness. That's it! I eat mine with greek yogurt, honey, and some fresh fruit for the ultimate experience. Don't be afraid to experiment! Just go forth, get creative, and get toasting!