My very good friend Amber is an inspiration for me on so many levels – with the love she has for her family and her sweet son, with her abundant source of creativity and inventiveness, with her dedication to health and helping other people feel the very best they can feel with her personal training business I Think I Can Fitness, with her honesty and compassion and being the the most amazing friend. Thank goodness for friendships that cross oceans (and email and Skype!), because I don’t think I could have left America otherwise.
When it comes to fitness or baking or knitting or cooking or crafts or gardening (or just about anything else…), I wish I could cross the ocean and plop down on her sofa for a nice conversation. I’ve been meaning to give a try at making granola for ages now, and finally gathered up most of the ingredients I could find in Amalfi this weekend. After poking around on the internet for recipes, all of which were too complicated and included ingredients nearly impossible to find on the Amalfi Coast, I had a flash. With a quick search in my email I had it – Amber’s granola recipe! I still had to make some modifications since I didn’t have maple syrup or bran, but it was easily modified and was the perfect base for inspiration. Amber brings creativity to everything she does, which is just one of the many lessons I’ve learned from her over the years.
3 cups oats (I used quick cook as they were the only kind in Amalfi – old-fashioned rolled oats would be better)
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup honey
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil (I used sunflower seed oil)
Few dashes of cinnamon
Tiny pinch of salt (optional)
1/2 cup raisins (or other dried fruit)
1. Mix all ingredients together except the raisins or dried fruit.
2. Spread out on baking pan and bake in preheated oven at 300 F/ 150 C for about 30-35 minutes, mixing and turning over about every 10-15 minutes. You want the granola to bake evenly, but not burn. The house will smell heavenly!
3. Let cool and mix in raisins or dried fruit if desired. After cooling completely store in airtight container.
Note: This made one large jar of granola when finished. Since it was my first try I didn’t want to waste the precious oats (yes, they’re expensive in Amalfi!) and just made a small batch.
One of the best things about granola is how flexible you can be with the recipe. I happened to have some molasses sitting around that needed to be used. But if you don’t have that handy, replace it with maple syrup (like Amber makes it) or use more honey. Add more nuts like sunflower seeds, sesame seeds or cashews, add other spices that you like or leave out the cinnamon if you don’t care for it, add wheat germ or flax seeds … whatever you like! Keep a note of what worked and didn’t work so you’ll remember next time. Since I used quick cook oats, I think I’ll need to experiment a bit more to make a clumpier granola. Thanks for the inspiration, Amber!
If you have any granola making tips or favorite ingredients, I’d love to hear!