Speculaas-Spiced Christmas Granola (Oil Free)

Granola is one of those things you quickly stop buying when you realise how simple and inexpensive it is to make your own. I’ve never been much of a breakfast person (unless it’s a Special Weekend Breakfast when pancakes or waffles play a part) so I mainly enjoy snacking on a tiny bowl of this mid-afternoon, or sprinkling it on yogurt for an evening snack. My daughter loves it too!

I specifically wanted to come up with an oil-free version as granola does tend to be heavy on the oil; I’m no health freak by any stretch of the imagination but I don’t really see the need for it here, as the generous quantity of nuts and seeds already provide more than adequate amounts of good fats. This recipe has all the crunch, flavour and sweetness you expect from granola, just minus the oil.

Rather bafflingly, store-bought granola is usually sweetened by honey, making it unsuitable for vegans. The warmly spiced, vegan-friendly recipe below is sweetened with maple syrup and is packed with cranberries and pecans to set you up right during this busy season – the only downside is trying to walk past the jar without grabbing a handful each time! I think it would look very pretty packed into Kilner jars and given as an edible Christmas gift, too.

Hope you all have a fab Christmas and New Year!

Katy x

Makes about 500g.

50g soft light brown sugar
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp speculaas spice* or mixed spice
1 tsp natural vanilla extract
3 tbsp hot water from the kettle

225g oats – the old fashioned rolled kind
60g pecans, broken up by hand
50g mixed seeds (sunflower, sesame, flax etc – I like the inexpensive bags of mixed seeds from Lidl)

Add at the very end: 60g cranberries (do not put in the oven, they burn to a crisp)

*I use speculaas (a very fragrant Dutch spice mix) for this but you can use regular mixed spice if that’s easier. I have a very simple recipe for speculaas here or you can buy it online.

Preheat the oven to 150c/300f/gas mark 2. Put the sugar, syrup, speculaas and vanilla into a small jug or mug and add the hot water. Stir until combined and the sugar has dissolved. Combine the oats, pecans and seeds into a separate bowl then pour the wet mixture all over. Stir with a wooden spoon (or get your hands in there!) until everything is evenly coated.

Spread evenly over your lined baking sheet/tin/tray and bake for 30-40 minutes, shaking the pan a bit and stirring the mixture every 10 minutes or so. When it looks reasonably golden (it won’t go crunchy until it’s cold) remove from the oven and stir in the cranberries. Leave to cool on the tray and transfer to an airtight container when completely cold.

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