Do squirrels really store up acorns before the winter?  If so, I confess some fellow-feeling with the critters, as I too have been feeling inclined to hoard and stash some sustenance for the looming dark and cold.  Happily, a recent visit from my mum allowed me an afternoon of cold-weather industry to get busy with a couple of cooking projects.  One of these was the making of chilli jam (which I hope to post about soon) and another was to make another batch of this granola.

I first read about this kind of granola on Orangette.  When I tried it myself, I found that it was perfectly good without any added oil, and that I enjoyed some extra linseeds and dried fruit stirred through as well.  What I love about this recipe is the warmth of the spices (cinnamon and ground ginger), and the richness from the mix of sweeteners.  I get the apple puree for this from the tinned fruit section of the supermarket, and they also have organic varieties in the baby food aisle.  The brown rice syrup I also found at the supermarket, in the health food section, but you could substitute for some extra honey or maple syrup if you like.

This granola is a crunchy, clustered type of toasted muesli.  We enjoy it on its own with cold milk, but it is flavoursome so you might want to mix it up occasionally and try it combined with some other cereals or even natural muesli.  Batches of this disappear rather quickly around here, and I’m already plotting on when I will make my next one to replenish our winter stash!

Autumn granola
Adapted from Orangette, adapted from Nigella Lawson

Dry ingredients
5 cups wholegrain rolled oats
2 cups raw almonds or pecan halves (I used a half-and-half mixture)
1 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup linseeds
1/2 cup sesame seeds
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp salt

Wet ingredients
3/4 cup unsweetened apple puree
1/4 cup honey
3 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp brown rice syrup

Dried fruit
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 150C (not fan forced, if you can). Line two large trays with baking paper.

In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Mix well. In a small bowl, combine all the wet ingredients and mix well. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix very well.

Spread the mixture onto the baking paper, and bake for about 45-50 minutes, or until evenly golden brown. Every 15 minutes, take out the trays and give the granola a good stir, and rotate the tray positions in the oven. When everything is toasted evenly (it should look golden but still be a little chewy while hot), take out the trays from the oven and stir really well. Set the trays aside to cool and rake over the granola every now and then while it’s cooling. When it is completely cool, it should be crunchy and a nice mix of clusters and individual pieces. Stir through the dried fruit.

Store in an airtight container. (Apparently it should keep in a zip lock bag in the fridge for ages but we haven’t had any hanging around that long to find out!)

Yield: about 10 cups.