Here is the recipe for a delicious breakfast treat, or any time of day actually…this granola is really tasty sprinkled over a bowl of vanilla yoghurt.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups large rolled oats
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup sunflower oil
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup chopped dates

1. Mix the oats, pecans, sunflower seeds, brown sugar and salt in a large bowl. Stir well, breaking up any lumps of brown sugar.

2. Combine the oil, maple syrup and vanilla and pour the oil mixture over the oat mixture.  I found it much easier to do this bit in a lined baking tray (plus it saves on sticky washing up)…using two spoons, stir and toss until all of the oats are coated with the syrup.

3. Pop the granola in the oven and set the timer for 10 minutes.  At the end of 10 minutes, remove the granola and stir, moving the granola around the outside edges into the middle and the middle out towards the edges.  Set the timer for another 10 minutes.  After the second 10 minutes, sprinkle with the coconut and then stir well again.  Return to oven and set the timer for one last 10 minute bake.  (30 minutes total, stirred twice at 10 minutes and 20 minutes).

 

4. At the end of the last 10 minutes (30 minutes in the oven), remove the granola from the oven.  Stir just a bit then sprinkle with the chopped dates (you could use raisins or other dried fruits) and leave undisturbed until it is completely cooled.  Once cooled, stir the granola…store at room temperature in an air-tight container.  It will keep for several weeks which will be ideal to make ahead for Christmas, add cranberries for a festive granola.

{Now I think this recipe turned out really well and will make a lovely addition to the homemade Christmas hamper.  You can add your favourite fruits and nuts…I may add cinnamon to the mix next time.  I will definitely watch out for the last 10 minutes cooking time…my pecans are a little charred but still completely delicious!}
Next on the list to try are peppermint creams.
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Oh my goodness these are good and sweet, perfect with a cup of tea!

My first attempt was somewhat successful…the pralines taste divine but they ain’t real pretty!  But once you’ve tasted one of these delicious pralines that really doesn’t matter.

Here’s a reminder of the recipe from The New Orleans School of Cooking

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup milk

6 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 cups pecans

1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Combine all ingredients and bring to a “softball stage” (238-240 degrees F), stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

2. Stir until mixture thickens (again stirring constantly), becomes creamy and cloudy, and pecans stay suspended in mixture.

3. Spoon out on to baking paper with plenty of newspaper underneath to stop it going through and marking the work surface.  This was the tricky part…you have to move fast to get the pralines on the baking paper before the sugar starts to get too thick…as you can see the ones at the back were not as pretty as those in the front row!

End Result!

{Next on my list of homemades is some nutty maple syrup granola}

And I’m back…

September 17, 2012

Almost a year to the date!  There are lots of reasons for going quiet on the blog…the usual family life, school days, holidays, Jubilee celebrations, London 2012 Olympics, the Paralympics, back to school…but mostly due to a lot of behind the scenes development for a brand new site which will air soon, watch this space!

Moving forward as they say…

The nights are drawing in, the autumn colours are starting to appear and my thoughts turn to Christmas!  And yes, I know there are a few hurdles before then…Harvest Festival, the half term break, Halloween, Bonfire Night, Nativity Plays, Carol Services and more.  In an effort to save a few pennies and put a bit more meaning into gifts for family and friends, I am challenging myself to get creative and produce some gorgeous homemade gifts.  Over the next few weeks I will be putting a few ideas to the test and will post the results…fingers crossed there is success ahead and come Christmas homemade hampers will be under the tree.

First up is a praline recipe from The New Orleans School of Cooking, the chefs look like they have loads of fun when sharing top tips on how to prepare the house specials.

Recipe by The New Orleans School of Cooking

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup milk

6 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 cups pecans

1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Combine all ingredients and bring to a “softball stage” (238-240 degrees F), stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

2. Stir until mixture thickens (again stirring constantly), becomes creamy and cloudy, and pecans stay suspended in mixture. Spoon out on to baking paper with plenty of newspaper underneath to stop it going through and marking the work surface.

Makes 1-50 pralines depending on size