A Healthier take on Granola: Toasted Muesli

When I first landed at Whole Foods, one of the things that struck me the most was granola. Since it was something completely unheard of in Italy, I approached it with interest. I especially loved the pecan and and maple syrup versions, two ingredients that are pretty much nonexistent when I grew up.

Still, the sugar overload in store-bought granola is overwhelming to say the least. So I combined the idea of granola with the european muesli, and came up with this. It was originally inspired by a Green Kitchen Stories recipe, and I immediately found it didn’t need much else than the very basics. I love, LOVE its nutty taste and, should you find it lacking in sugar, you can kick your bowl up a notch by adding some honey or maple syrup.

Not that it needs it though. Really.

On a side note, Modern Pop Cooking, my new site, will launch tomorrow! So we can get back to italian food here, and talk about american inspired lunches someplace else!
Aaaaaand…Hortus will soon get a makeover, too!

Thanks to all who have been following along. You guys are the best!

FUN FACT: Actually, the first time I saw pecans I instantly hated them. I thin I had a version toasted with bad oil, and for some reason I find them to be extremely funny looking. I had a complete and utter feeling of disgust towards them until I tried a sample again at the Brooklyn Flea last summer. We can be so silly at times, yes?

This version can be customized with whatever spices, nuts, seeds and rolled grains you have. I also add bran to kick up the fiber content even more, but feel free to substitute it with more oats. Throw in whatever dried fruit (like Goji berries or coconut flakes) at the end for extra flavor.

Lower-than-most Sugar Toasted Muesli
(Makes about 2 1/2 cups)
1 Cup rolled oats
1/4 Cup oat bran flakes
1/4 Cup almonds, roughly chopped
1/4 Cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1/4 Cup Flax seeds
1 Tbsp Coconut sugar or Brown sugar
1 Tsp Cinnamon
A pinch of salt

2 Tbsp maple syrup or honey (possibly raw)
3 Tbsps water
1-2 Tsps Vanilla

Preheat the oven to 320 F˚ (160 C˚). If you can turn on the fan setting, even better.

Mix together all the dry ingredient in a bowl. Mix together the liquid ingredients in a cup. If using honey, melt it in the water in the microwave for a few seconds. Mix, and stir into the dry ingredients. Mix well with a spoon.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper, and spread the mixture as evenly as possible. If you like clumpy granola, just pinch the pieces together with your hands. During cooking, they will stick and create clumps. Bake for about 10 minutes, then turn the tray around and bake for another 8-10. It should be golden, crispy, and spread the most amazing smell in your house. If after this time it doesn’t look ready to you, leave it in the turned off-oven for a few minutes, but keep a close eye on it! It goes from ready to overbaked in a matter of seconds.

Let it cool, mix in your favorite ingredients, and that’s it. Easy, and way cheaper than the store bought kinds!

What’s your favorite granola / muesli variation?

Basic almond walnut toasted muesli granola

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