This Christmas is a particularly good one for homemade presents: most of us are feeling cash-strapped and, with a renewed focus on the planet, it is hard to justify much of the usual seasonal tat (I’ll pass on the Christmas jumper, thanks). Whatever your homemade fancy, food is a great option: it is a basic necessity, but can also be a luxury, especially when shared with friends. So, cocktail in hand and dressed in my 80s sparkle gear, I’ll be cooking my way to Christmas – starting with this granola.
Dark chocolate, orange and cranberry granola
Christmassy flavours abound in this crunchy, sweet granola: double up the recipe to make lots of beautifully wrapped jarfuls. It will stay crunchy for a few months in an air-tight container.
Prep 15 min
Cook 1 hr
Makes 2 kg
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp sea salt
150ml olive oil
Juice of 2 oranges (or 150ml orange juice)
130ml maple syrup
175g soft brown sugar
500g rolled oats, preferably organic
300g barley or jumbo oats
150g pecans, roughly chopped
175g hazelnuts, roughly chopped
150g pumpkin seeds
150g sunflower seeds
100g dried cranberries (or raisins)
150g dried apricots, chopped
Heat the oven to 140C (120C fan)/275F/gas 1. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together the cinnamon, cocoa, salt, oil, juice, maple syrup and sugar. Add the dry ingredients and stir to coat everything in the sticky stuff.
Spread the mixture out evenly on the trays; if your oven and trays are small, divide between three to four trays instead – you are looking for thin layers, so the ingredients cook evenly; if they are piled up, they won’t do so.
Bake for about an hour, stirring every 15 minutes so the oats cook evenly. (It’s best to take the trays out when you do this, so you don’t lose heat from the oven.)
The granola is ready when everything looks golden. Leave to cool completely on the trays, then pack up into jars to gift.