Goji berry and hazelnut granola
I went to America with my parents a few years back – we waited until I was 21 so we wouldn’t have to avoid going to any bars (silly America and its really old drinking age!). We stayed with some friends in California, and for some reason I came home with a bizarre addiction to granola. I guess at the time I didn’t realise you could get granola in the UK too? We never had it when I was growing up, so I thought it was one of those American things that I had discovered, and could pioneer in the UK – I literally carried some granola home with me in my suitcase, only to be disappointed when I then found it in my local supermarket.
Anyway, my own stupidity aside: I love granola. It makes a quick and easy breakfast, and is a great alternative to cereal when I get bored of my usual bran flakes (which is pretty often, if I’m honest). It also has the added advantage that it doesn’t soften in the milk to the extent that cereal does – there’s nothing worse than soggy cereal.
It’s never really occurred to me to make my own granola, but this recipe was a revelation. Who knew it was so easy?! And why didn’t you tell me?!
Literally, just mix your oats and your chosen add-ins with some butter and golden syrup (I never said this was health food…), and bake it until it’s stuck together into crunchy little nuggets. This time I added hazelnuts and goji berries – I don’t tend to snack on either nuts or dried fruit very often, but they’re perfect for granola.
I used these goji berries from nu3, which are free of any additives or preservatives of any kind. The fact that goji berries have been claimed as ‘the most nutritious berry’ definitely made me feel a little better about consuming golden syrup for breakfast…
As a totally irrelevant side note: have you ever tried rehydrating goji berries? I’ve been experimenting with these and have found that if you just stick them in some water for five or ten minutes, they get all soft and juicy again. For this granola it’s probably best to use them as they are, but I’m trying to think of a use for the rehydrated version too – some sort of dessert, perhaps.
The flavour of the hazelnuts actually went perfectly with the goji berries – it might not be a combination that springs to mind straight away, but it was awesome! This recipe made about two cups of granola, which I found gave about three breakfasts for me (I don’t like to have too much granola at one time, since I’m a very slow eater and it takes me forever to get through a big bowl of the crunchy stuff!). If you’re just having a small amount sprinkled on yoghurt or something then obviously it will go further. You can also easily double the recipe if you’d like more.
- 1tbsp unsalted butter
- 4tbsp golden syrup (or honey or agave nectar, if you prefer)
- 100g rolled oats
- 40g hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
- 1/4tsp ground cinnamon
- 20g goji berries
- Melt the butter and syrup together in a small pan, then add the rolled oats, hazelnuts and cinnamon. Mix until fully combined, and then spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet.
- Bake for around 25 minutes at 190°C (Gas Mark 5 / 375°F), or until the granola is golden brown and crunchy (stir gently every ten minutes or so to ensure it cooks evenly). Allow to cool completely, and mix in the goji berries. Store in at room temperature in an air tight container, and serve with milk or sprinkled over yoghurt.