Black Sesame & Chia Seed Granola
I grew up in New Zealand eating toasted muesli with milk for breakfast. I never liked the untoasted kind, it just didn't taste as good to me. As far as I know, we didn't have granola, that was more of an American thing (which I didn't discover until adulthood). Both muesli and granola are made with nuts, seeds and dried fruit, but muesli is looser and doesn't clump together, while granola is often prized for those large hunks or clusters which provide a lot of crunch. This is due to baking the granola with a sweetener and oil to bind it together. Muesli can be served hot (cooked on the stovetop in simmering liquid) or cold (with milk, etc). Granola is always served cold, usually with some milk or with yogurt, or eaten by itself as a snack.
I have lately become obsessed with granola, but I found it's quite expensive to buy brands that are good for you and don't contain a load of sugar. Since I have such a big sweet tooth, I like to keep my breakfast as healthy as possible, which means avoiding refined sugars. I love this black sesame and chia seed granola as it has such a great balance of sweet and salty. The pinch of sea salt really contrasts well with the sweetness of the maple syrup. And the black sesame seeds add a nutty flavor, while the chia seeds provide protein, fiber, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus and sustainable energy. The protein in the egg white serves to make the granola clusters, by binding the oats together. Do not skip this ingredient if you want the crispy clusters! Just make sure you whisk the egg white until it's foamy and frothy. Whether or not you add dried fruit at the end of baking is completely up to you. I left it out this time, as I want to take advantage of the fresh summer fruits that are now coming into season. Granola with a little milk and fresh fruits has to be one of my favourite breakfasts.
The best thing about homemade granola is it's totally customisable. Gluten intolerance? Use gluten free rolled oats. Don't like walnuts? Substitute for macadamia nuts instead. Don't have coconut oil? You can use olive oil instead. Be prepared for your home to smell like a nutty, sweet, amazing heaven. Enjoy!
3 cups rolled oats
1 & 3/4 cups nuts and seeds (I used sunflower seeds, walnuts, cashews, almonds)
1/4 cup black sesame seeds
1/4 cup chia seeds
Pinch of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 egg white
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
Optional: 1/2 cup dried fruit of your choice
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. On a baking sheet, spread coconut in a single layer and toast until fragrant and lightly golden (about 5 minutes). Set aside.
- In a large bowl, add the oats, nuts and seeds. Add cinnamon and a generous pinch of sea salt and stir well to combine.
- In a smaller bowl, combine the maple syrup and coconut oil, then pour over the dry ingredients and stir until everything is coated evenly.
- In another small bowl, whisk the egg white until frothy, then add to the granola and stir well.
- Spread the granola evenly on the baking sheet and bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Don't stir during cooking, however you can rotate the pan at the halfway point if needed for even baking.
- Once the top of the granola is golden and dry to the touch, remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, break granola into hunks and sprinkle over the coconut and dried fruit. Store in an airtight jar or container for up to 2 weeks at room temperature.