Last week, Les Petits Chefs tried something a little different – granola! As a teacher, I know the importance of a healthy breakfast (wait, that sounds a little too much like the Nutella commercial doesn’t it?) and I can totally tell when my students don’t eat breakfast or have something insubstantial – by about 9am they’ve slumped. Just ask Neil. Before I met him, he rarely ate breakfast, perhaps a cup or 12 of coffee. Now I am there to annoy him make sure he eats some fruit, some carbs (cereal or a granola bar) and some dairy (yoghurt which he claims to eat only so he can give Cleo the yoghurt lid) and make him a decent espresso in the morning, I am sure he feels better all day, even if he won’t admit it.
I figured granola would be a fairly easy choice for the boys and I like the idea of them being able to customise their portion. Neil generously donated some Mason jars and I brought some labels so they would be able to name their product and list the ingredients.
Setting up was fairly easy…
I had brought along a number of choices for the boys to include: cranberries, golden raisins, banana chips, almonds, walnuts, coconut, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds…
Err, yes, those are whole sunflower seeds as well as shelled ones – I mistakenly bought unroasted ones (knowing how much the boys love the little packs of roasted ones you can get, I figured it would be a fun addition. T’was only when we added them to the base and the kitchen asked me had I really meant to, did I start to wonder). Meanwhile, back in the science lab, the boys were eating them regardless. In fact they were snacking on everything… I removed them from most boys portions but many of them insisted on keeping them in and that they were “fun” to eat. Ok then… Sometimes, you know, cooking with 7 little boys can make you flustered….
We all took turns helping create the base mixture…
And then I laid out the bowls for the boys to choose their customisations…
Then we chopped the larger nuts and the banana chips…
And got to work writing our labels…
The granola came out of the oven…
We poured our Ziploc bags of customisations into the Mason Jars with some granola…
(errr, yes, Henry likes his almonds).
We stuck on our labels and were good to go:
Ingredients (makes enough to fill a large jar)
2 cups quick-cooking oatmeal ( not instant)
1 heaped cup mixed nuts (hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts)
1/4 cup mixed seeds ( sunflower, poppy, pumpkin, sesame)
3/4 cup unsweetened dried shredded coconut
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups dried fruit ( raisins, cranberries, apricots)
5 tablespoons maple syrup ( or honey)
5 tablespoons olive oil
To prepare your granola:
Preheat the oven to 350.
Put your dry granola ingredients including coconut and cinnamon, but not the dried fruit on a sheet pan.
Stir well and smooth out. Drizzle with the maple syrup and a little olive oil and stir again.
Place the pan in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes.
Every 5 minutes or so, take the granola out and stir it, then smooth it down with a wooden spoon and put it back in the oven.
While it’s toasting, chop up any large dried fruit.
When the granola is nice and golden, remove it from the oven, mix in the dried fruit and let it cool down.
To serve your granola:
Once cooled, serve the granola in individual bowls with some milk or a dollop of natural yoghurt. You can keep any leftover granola in store in an airtight container for about 2 weeks but it’s so delicious I’ll be surprised if it lasts that long!
This was a wonderfully easy recipe and many of the parents commented that their boys loved it. I think letting them have a choice is so important – like in the classroom, a project that they “own” is so much more special. Plus, this reminded me that making my own granola is so easy and I should do it more often…
** Did you know? Jamie Oliver is speaking in Toronto on November 18th. Thanks to The Art of Cooking, I am able to offer a discount to you, my readers, of $10 per ticket (more if you purchase more than 5 tickets). Click here for the special promotion code to be applied to your ticket price. Don’t miss this event – I saw Jamie speak last year and it was inspirational to say the least. It inspired me to start Les Petits Chefs, for one…
One more thing – I made it to Round 6 of Project Food Blog! I would love your vote to move on to Round 7, where we have to make a recipe come alive through video. Simply click here to vote. You have to be a Foodbuzz member to vote but it’s a simple sign-up process. Once you’re signed up, click the red heart to vote. Thanks in advance. Many thanks for your continued support.