The new year is a year of promising good food and healthy at the same time. I've not been very healthy all my life. I don't eat chicken skin because I don't like them but I use all the chicken fat in my rice or melt them down to obtain lard in my egg tarts. I love bread and buns but I always end up eating all the filling and left Aaron with the plain bun. He happily gobble it down because he loves plain stuffs. We're just really opposite in many ways but I like how we click and compliment each other in many ways.
Aaron loves granola bars, those ready-to-go stuffs you get from Quaker and Uncle Toby's from the supermarket shelves. I sometimes wonder how long these boxes have been sitting on the shelf. Its shelf life just puts me off sometimes. And selling at a ridiculous price, I was surprised at how easy it is to make your own granola, bar or cluster at home.
And I get control of ingredients and what goes in. This is by Tessa and she says it is healthy. For one time, I might have to disagree with her. With the amount of sugar loaded in there along with lots of honey and a couple of tablespoon of butter, I have no idea how is this going to be healthy unless you take really small portion of this at one breakfast, downed with a tall glass of skinny milk.
Nonetheless, I proceed. True enough, it lived up to it's name. It's granola but it's not just plain granola, it's really good granola cluster, caramelized in the oven to a golden amber hue. Great tasting and flavours your skim milk so well.
This one makes 5 cups and I've used roasted cashewnuts instead of walnuts. I reckon pecans or almond would be good too.
(loosely adapted from Tessa Kiros book, Apples for Jam)
1.5 cups quick-cooking oats
5 tbsp sunflower seeds
3 tbsp sesame seeds
1/2 cup roasted cashewnuts, placed in ziplog and smashed with rolling pin randomly
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp wheat germ
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
1/4 tsp allspice powder
1/3 cup firmly packed muscovado sugar
1/4 cup runny honey
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup butter
Have ready three large baking sheets sprayed liberally with butter spray. Preheat the oven to 160°C. In a pot, add in the sugar, honey, maple syrup and butter. Combine the remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl and toss around to mix well.
Melt the butter syrup mixture until it is smooth and well combined. Pour it over the dry stuffs and stir around to mix well into a wet sand like mixture with a wooden spatula. When everything is well coated. Spread it out evenly within the 3 baking trays and make sure the three layers are thin, some clusters are fine.
Bake it in the oven for 50 mins, rotating the trays around for even browning. Turn off the oven and let it stay in there for 15 mins. Remove from oven and cool completely before storing it in an airtight container.