Overnight oats have been a favourite of mine since I started making the stuff for breakfast some time ago. There is just something comforting and satisfying about this mix of oats, yogurt, and peanut butter that is just halfway between porridge and cream-pudding. For me, it’s happy food, comfort food; something to get the day started on a high note and the right foot.
Overnight oats are usually made with plain quick-cooking oats, but there is actually a way to spiff up your morning bowl – and that’s to make it with granola.
However, we aren’t just talking about regular, garden variety, supermarket purchased granola (or its fruitier Continental counterpart Birchermuesli). Today, I will show you how to make your own. Why? Two reasons:
- Given the alarming number of cases of food poisoning, contamination, and the tampering of foodstuffs appearing in the news of late, it’s best that you personally know what’s going into your food. Not to sound too paranoid, but with all those reports of oxalic acid maliciously being added to beverages and reports of faux foods being imported from China or elsewhere, you can never be too careful; and
- It’s always nice to have your own stock of the stuff in the pantry. Granola also works well in cookies, after all, and you could always make granola bars to tote along for long trips out.
The first time I made granola, I committed a serious error. Granola calls for rolled oats: you know the sort, those big flattened whole grains. I ended up using the quick-cooking kind (eep!), so the end results weren’t exactly the nice, grainy sort I expected. Nevertheless, my finished product was pretty darned delicious: crisp yet chewy, the nuts toasty and crunchy; the addition of mixed dried berries adding fresh flavour and a contrasting tartness against the honey I used to sweeten the mixture.
My recipe is actually a variation on one featured in the book Martha Stewart: Cookies where it was featured as part of a recipe for something called blueberry bonanza bars. The original recipe calls for the addition of coconut and raisins – two ingredients that don’t exactly go over well with either my family or my friends. As a result, I gave the recipe a bit of a tweak and threw in ingredients that would be more appealing to kith and kin. You could do pretty much the same when you make yourself a batch. 😀
One thing, though: while this granola is suitable for vegetarians in the sense that I used vegetable oil-based margarine rather than the butter called for in Martha Stewart’s original, this is not suitable for vegans because of the honey. Other than that, bash on…
- 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats or quick-cooking oats
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/2 cup margarine
- 1 cup chopped almonds
- 1/4 cup chopped cashews
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 1/4 cup sunflower kernels
- 1/2 cup dried mixed berries or your choice of mixed dried fruit
Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees / Gas Mark 3. Line a deep rectangular baking tin with waxed paper or baking parchment; set aside.
Combine the oats, nuts, seeds, and sunflower kernels in a large bowl; set aside.
In a saucepan over low-medium heat, warm together the honey and margarine till the margarine has all melted. Stir well and pour into the oat mixture. Using your hands, evenly coat all of the contents with the honey-margarine mixture. Spread evenly in the prepared baking tin.
Bake for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Allow to cool before breaking up into clusters. Toss in the mixed berries. Scoop the granola into an airtight container.
Now that you have your granola, you would do well to keep some on hand for snack attacks. It is, after all, healthier than most overly sugared or salted snacks. If you’re lucky to have a fridge in your office pantry, here’s a nifty recipe that you can make when you get into the office and will be ready for noshing come your afternoon tea break. It’s kind of like a fruity oat and yogurt pudding, rather refreshing and satisfying all at the same time.
- 1/3 cup granola
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1 small tub thick / Greek-style yogurt with fruit.
Place all of the ingredients in a mug; mix well. Cover the mug and refrigerate for at least five to six hours.