Have you ever had that supermarket feeling? You know the one… where you’re walking aimless up and down the aisles, wishing you’d made a list (although you never make a list), finding yourself stood in front of the cereals thinking ‘I know I need cereal, but which one?’ You stare longingly at the Cocoa Pops, thinking about them turning ice cold milk into a chocolatey treat, but you know you should be at the other end contemplating the granola or porridge options. Breakfast cereal decisions, in my opinion, are one of the major drawbacks of adulting…
Having said that, I have succumbed on occasion, and have placed my naughty chocolatey breakfast cereal amongst the fancy cereal boxes of the more health conscious of my colleagues. There’s only a slight hang of my head in shame as I scuttle back to my desk, it only lasts a moment as I get stuck in and munch before they get soggy.
I don’t know about you, but my problem is that I’m easily far too tempted when it comes to making the healthier choice for my breakfast kick-start. And I have been known to detour to Tesco on the way to work for the aforementioned Coco Pops and milk having had a vivid dream about them, the night before. I’ve even dreamt about and subsequently had to buy the mini variety cereal packets. We used to have them as a treat for caravaning holidays, so they are logged in my subconscious somewhere alongside happy memories; and blimey they are so expensive for what they are, especially as I can’t eat the ones with nuts on them. Meh…
Anyway, like the rest of the population, I’m on a healthy start to the year; and just so we’re clear last weekend’s doughnuts totally don’t count. I’m doing the usual cutting back on alcohol (although gin is low calorie, right?), watching the carbs and sugar, making ‘sensible’ choices etc, all the while being conscious of the impending doom of my 40th in October drawing ever closer.
With that in mind, let me take you back to the cereal aisle, and by now I’ve fought off my cereal demons and I’m staring intently at the granola options. Actually, they all sound lovely with a hint of chocolate, a splash of fruit and a little honey for sweetness, only to be ruined by the deadly handful of nuts; and there my search for a healthy breakfast option ends. There is a ‘plain and simple’ no nuts, no frills option, but where’s the fun in that.
As I stood there this weekend, I thought really how difficult can it be to make my own granola, and how much cheaper too?! A quick scan over the ingredients of a different packets, a peek at Pinterest and a mental whizz around the kitchen cupboards to see what I already had at home, and I confidently walked away from the cereal aisle knowing I could make my own granola for my pretty awesome breakfast jars!
So it turns out that granola is pretty easy and quick to make. Ok, you can make it more complicated if you prefer and are nutritionally balancing all the bits and pieces that you’re chucking in it, but I just went with the thought of those Coco Pops turning my milk chocolatey, and added cocoa powder in with my oats, sunflower seeds and dried cranberries. I’d probably have added some other seeds in there, maybe pumpkin seeds if I’d had them, but I didn’t.
On the sweetness and combining it all together front, some recipes I found just went for pouring honey over and mixing it up, but I thought that it might be a bit sticky, so I warmed some honey together with a little soft brown sugar and rapeseed oil, to thin it down, instead. I suppose you could use coconut oil rather than rapeseed, but the only coconut oil I had was in the bathroom, my miracle hair restorer. It did the trick and when baked the granola formed lovely clusters with a hint of chocolatey goodness that I’ve been picking at out of the jar all day. Yup, its that good; but it is what you make it, so take the recipe below as a base and jazz it up if you want.
Nut-free Choco Granola
Who says breakfast can’t be indulgent? Try this Choco and Cranberry Nut-free Granola
- 400g Rolled oats
- 100g Dried cranberries
- 50g Cocoa powder
- 50g Sunflower seeds
- 50g Light brown sugar
- 50g Runny honey
- 20ml Rapeseed oil
- Preheat oven to 150C and line a shallow baking tray with greaseproof paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, cranberries, cocoa powder and sunflower seeds, and stir together.
- In a small saucepan, add the light brown sugar, runny honey and rapeseed oil, and heat over a low flame, stirring under the sugar as dissolved.
- Pour the sugar syrup over the dry ingredients and mix together until there is no dry mixture left.
- Pour the oat mixture into the baking tray, and spread out thinly.
- Bake the mixture for 10-15minutes, and then left to cool for 30 minutes.
- When cool, crumble the mixture and store in an air-tight container for up to 1 week.
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