Yep, I’m one of those people. One of those who still, even at 22 years of age, puts milk, cookies and carrots out for Santa and his reindeers on Christmas Eve. From December 1st I blast Michael Buble’s 2011 Christmas album in my car, and refuse to take it off rotation until mid-January. Shopping centres go from being in my top-3-most-disliked-environments all year from January through November, to magical joy-filled havens which I find every excuse to immerse myself in during December. I take dramatic detours and scour the streets of suburban Melbourne late at night, ooh-ing and ahh-ing at fairy light displays. Even houses with the tackiest efforts (flashing rainbow fairy lights usually make my eyes hurt) send ripples of Christmas cheer through me. I’ve finally stopped dressing my car as Rudolf and acknowledge that the antlers on the side door windows and red nose on the front grill are a bit much.
As I write this, the most wonderful day of the year is just one week away. The early summer sun is shining outside, I’ve spent the afternoon wrapping presents and arranging them under the tree, and the oven is exhaling mouth-watering notes of ginger, cinnamon and maple from my fourth batch of Lemon, Ginger and Cranberry Granola this week.
This granola recipe is a festive and comforting marriage of sugar and spice. It’s sweetened with just enough maple syrup and the pops of tart lemon and dried cranberries add some extra zing. There’s a delicious crunch and chewiness to it, then it melts in your mouth like any granola should. It might look Christmassy, but it makes for a delicious and nutrient dense breakfast all year round. This recipe is very forgiving, so feel free to mix it up however you like. So long as you’re mindful of wet to dry ratios, you can pretty much throw in whatever you’ve got on hand.
How you use the granola is entirely up to you – serve a generous handful with your favourite nut milk and strawbs for a wholesome brekky, sprinkle it over smoothie bowls and banana ‘nice cream’ to add some crunch, or whiz some through smoothies to make them extra thicccc and amp up the flavour. It’s also great to snack on as a trail mix, but I try to portion it out in advance otherwise I end up eating half a batch in one sitting. Portion control has never been my forté.
For something a bit spesh, try layering the granola with cardamom-stewed oranges or other fruit and your favourite yoghurt (coconut or full fat) in individual glasses – the perfect Christmas Parfait for brunch entertaining! I also love making cute homemade edible gifts by filling mason jars with the granola. Add some mini gingerbread men to the jars and arrange around the side of the jar so that they’re visible, then finish with some festive ribbon and hand-written gift tags.
Lemon, Ginger and Cranberry Granola
FODMAP friendly serving size: ¾ cup (approx. 80g)
- 2 cups(178g) quinoa flakes (you could also use flaked brown rice or buckwheat)
- 1 cup (200g) buckwheat grouts, activated if possible
- 1 cup (15g) puffed buckwheat (puffed brown rice also works great although it’s a grain)
- ¾ cup (45g) shredded unsweetened coconut
- ¾ cup (97g) of your favourite natural nuts (activated if possible), roughly chopped. I use mostly macadamias and pecans, plus some almonds and walnuts
- ¼ cup (40g) pepitas
- ¼ cup (40g) sunflower seeds
- ¾ tsp finely ground sea salt
- 1 tbs ground cinnamon
- 1 ¼ tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp ground cardamom
- 2 tbs coconut sugar (optional)
- ½ cup (60g) dried cranberries (unsweetened if possible, omit for strictly fructose friendly – see notes)
- ½ cup (100g) melted coconut oil
- ⅓ cup (95g) pure maple syrup
- 1 tbs lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 160*C and lightly grease a large baking tray with coconut oil
- In a large bowl, combine all the ‘muesli mixture’ ingredients, except the dried coconut and cranberries
- Add the ‘wet’ ingredients to the bowl, gently folding with a large wooden spoon until fully combined
- Spoon onto the prepared tray in an even layer. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven. Add the dried coconut and use a spatula to gently turn the granola. Lightly press the mixture down to encourage the formation of clusters. Return to the oven for a further 10-15 minutes. At this point it should be fragrant and golden
- Remove from the oven and set aside. As it cools, the granola will continue to dry out and crisp up, so don’t worry if it’s still a little soft. Allow to cool completely before adding the dried cranberries and transferring to an airtight container or glass jars. The granola will keep for at least a week if stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
Info for the Irritable:
- Certain nuts and dried coconut contain moderate amounts of FODMAPs (GOS and polyols, respectively), however the amount I have used in this recipe, especially once divided into the recommended servings, is considered to be low. If you’re especially sensitive to either, reduce the amount by half or omit altogether and substitute with more quinoa flakes and puffed buckwheat
- Dried cranberries do contain moderate fructans, however the amount I have included once divided is considered low.
- To keep the FODMAP load of your meal down, make sure you serve this granola with low FODMAP accompaniments, such as fresh berries and a suitable nut milk.