Berry Nut Chocolate Intense Granola

by Meeta Wolff

This chapter is a free excerpt from What's For Lunch, Honey?.

I love my morning granola or muesli! My jars at home are almost always filled with either a muesli or granola blend I make at home.

I usually get asked the question about the difference between granola and muesli, especially from my European friends. The concept of granola is still new to most of them, and when I send them little jars (or in some cases very large jars) filled with my latest granola mix, they are amazed at how the same breakfast concept can be so different.

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I love my morning granola or muesli! My jars at home are almost always filled with either a muesli or granola blend I make at home.

I usually get asked the question about the difference between granola and muesli, especially from my European friends. The concept of granola is still new to most of them, and when I send them little jars (or in some cases very large jars) filled with my latest granola mix, they are amazed at how the same breakfast concept can be so different.

The difference lies basically in how each is prepared. While both granola and muesli share many similarities, the two are not interchangeable. Besides having different origins, they also have different ingredients and preparing methods.

Muesli was developed by Dr. Bircher-Benner, a Swiss nutritionist towards the end of the nineteenth century. Granola, on the other hand, was developed in the United States, also in the nineteenth century, by Dr. James Caleb Jackson at the Jackson Sanitarium in New York. When it comes to the ingredients, both contain a mixture of grains, like oats or spelt flakes, nuts, and dried fruit. Granola, however, usually has honey and oil, and is toasted in the oven, giving it a crisp texture and sweeter flavor. Muesli relies mostly on the fresh fruit you add for the sweetness.

While I love muesli, I tend to lean slightly more towards my beloved granola. I love the delicious crispy clumps of oats, seeds and berries all toasted to a wonderful golden color and coated with the sweet glaze of honey or maple syrup. Muesli has no chance against that! (I tend to go through my muesli days too though, when the flakes soak up the milk and the fresh fruit add their subtle and sweet fruity flavors—it does give me the perfect balanced start to my day.)

Soeren, my son, has definitely inherited my taste buds for granola. I don’t even come near him with the muesli creations—even the ones with chocolate! So we make lots of granola together, and come up with some very great creations. This one is a recent favorite. I love the nuttiness of spelt and usually use these in muesli and granola. There are cashews, dried cherries and cranberries, sunflower seeds, poppy seeds and the honey gives it the perfect sweetness. The best, however, is the pinch of fleur de sel and the big chunks of dark chocolate flavored with a hint of orange.

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 160ºC (about 320ºF). Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  1. Heat honey and oil together in a large pan until the mixture begins to boil.
  1. Tip in the spelt flakes, cashew nuts, sunflower seeds, poppy seeds, fleur de sel and cinnamon and stir well until the oats are well coated. Spread out on the baking tray, spreading the mixture out evenly.
  1. Bake for 20-25 minutes, stirring with a spatula, about halfway through.
  1. Remove from the oven and immediately add the berries and chocolate and stir into the mixture. Spread the mixture out on the baking tray again and press down with a spatula and allow to cool. This helps the granola to clump together.
  1. Allow to cool completely, then place in airtight containers. It will last for three weeks if stored in a cool dry place. Serve with yogurt and fresh fruit or use in desserts.
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