Sunday, July 13, 2014

Honey Quinoa Clusters of Oats

Someone once told me one day I will turn into a muesli. I'm still trying to figure out what that looks like...

I eat a lot of the stuff. It's something about oats that's so satisfying and comforting.

There was this one "Swiss-style" muesli that I was addicted to when I lived in Dublin. I bought it from my local Tesco shop. There was milk powder blended right in so I didn't even need to add milk! I would eat it with a spoon dry from a bowl and the milk powder would dissolve in my mouth. It was like making instant milk - really, really concentrated milk. That's weird... I shouldn't tell you these things.

I haven't been able to find it anywhere since then. If you know where to get this stuff, shout!

I also love granola, and in Australia they call granola "toasted muesli". Granola bars are also "muesli bars".

They're perfectly correct because granola is a mixture of oats, nuts and seeds (basically muesli) that is baked until crisp. It's full of long-lasting energy and super easy to make at home. The best part is that you can control how much oil and sugar is added.

In this case it's only 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil. That's 4.5 teaspoons or 22 ml. That's IT!

And... 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon of honey. 

This is the real deal folks!

Forget the stuff that comes in a box. I think you can skip the "breakfast cereal" aisle now.

This recipe ticks all the boxes for great granola:

low fat...
not too sweet...
pure honey...
a hint of spice...
damn delicious and crunchy crunchy crunchy!

I like to make a batch of these wonderfully crunchy clusters once a week and keep them by my computer for blog time snacking. What is it with crunchy? It's like a compulsory attribute for anything that is addictive. Potato chips, cheetos, salted nuts, wasabi peas, fried chick peas, corn nuts, pretzels, onion rings, fried chicken, tempura, samosas, Oreos.... This recipe fits right in there.

So many commercial granolas are so full of fat because the oats are coated in oil before baking in order to get them crispy. This time we use the power of egg white!

Egg whites have this amazing characteristic where, even though they are mostly water, the proteins form an incredibly strong matrix film that crisps up when it becomes dehydrated.

Basically we get all sorts of crunchy with little need for fat or heaps of sugar.

There are plenty of times where copious amounts of butter are welcome - I don't fear the yellow block. But, this is not one of them.

Hello quinoa, hello clusters, let's just chill here for a while...

Honey Quinoa Clusters of Oats
Makes about 4 cups

2 cups (200 g) large flake old-fashioned rolled oats
¼ cup (25 g) quick oats
1 cup (100 g) flaked almonds
¼ cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp raw white quinoa
1 large egg white
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp sea salt
1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp honey
1 ½ tbsp olive oil

Preheat your oven to 325°F.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl, stir together oats, almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and quinoa; set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together egg white, cinnamon and salt. Whisk in honey and olive oil until well blended. Pour into oat mixture and stir until well combined and the oats are completely coated with the wet mixture.

Spread mixture evenly onto prepared baking sheet and bake until golden, about 25-30 minutes, stirring gently with a wooden spoon every 7 minutes to ensure that it bakes evenly.

Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Transfer granola to a large bowl and stir chopped dried fruit if you'd like. Store in an air tight container or in mason jars.

Enjoy this as a snack at any time of day on its own or with plain yogurt or milk.

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