Since I decided to take a pause in my life – and yes, thank you, I managed to turn 40 very successfully with the help and love of some dear friends – I havent been cooking a lot. Other life issues demanded precedent. I needed something to get me moving again, and of course, I do love a challenge. My dear friend, Ms Tina gave me a challenge that was intriguing and exciting. She asked me to create a truly tasty and delicious gluten-free granola for her.
Gluten-free is basically a diet that is completely free of any gluten containing cereals, specifically wheat, spelt, barley, and rye – and ensuring that no ingredients used have any gluten based cereals as an additive or filler, and even that non gluten flours / ingredients have not been processed on machines which also are used for wheat. This is a moment which calls for vigilance in shopping! I am lucky in that I have O’Gourmet Food Hall as a wonderful resource for hard to find ingredients that are also natural, not overly processed, and organic.
While the recipe is very open to interpretation, you must make sure that all ingredients are gluten-free – and the best way to do that is by reading the small print. I found some rice flour for this recipe, but I did not read the small print. When I got home, I found that the rice flour had been processed on machines that were also used for wheat flour – so I ended up using gluten-free buckwheat flour instead. I had to search quite hard to find gluten-free ingredients, but the effort was worth it!
This makes about 10 cups of granola. Its not labour intensive, but it does take quite a bit of time in the oven, with checking and turning every 20 minutes or so. Bake it in the still of the night, or on a lazy Sunday. Please also do feel free to chop and change ingredients. You may not like nuts in your granola as much as I do – add raisins, cranberries, apricots, etc. I could not find gluten-free oats (and remember, not every oat is gluten free!) so I used gluten-free muesli instead – it already had raisins and apricots, so I decided not to add any more. You need about 11 cups of mixed granola ingredients. I also tried to add as little oil as possible to the granola – but the result was a granola which did not clump together as much as I would have wished it to. Add up to 1/2 cup more oil to really bind the mixture together.
With a bit of care and creativity, you will find that this granola is well worth the effort – delicious, gluten-free and vegan to boot!
Makes 10 cups
- 4 cups gluten-free oats (or gluten-free muesli if you cannot find pure oats)
- 2 cups quinoa flakes
- 1 cup sunflower / sesame seeds
- 1 cup raw whole macadamias, roughly smashed
- 1 cup raw hazelnuts, roughly smashed
- 1 cup raw pistachios
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 3 tbsp rice flour
- 3/4 cup best quality honey (I used a mix of leatherwood and manuka)
- 3/4 – 1 1/2 cups canola or sunflower oil
- 1/2 cup organic juice (I used an organic raspberry and pear juice)
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 2 – 3 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ginger
- Large pinch of sea salt
Preheat the oven to 115 C (250F). Line your largest baking tin with parchment paper and set aside.
Mix the oats/muesli, quinoa flakes, sunflower/sesame seeds, macadamia, hazelnuts, pistachios, and cashews together in a very large bowl. Use your hands, and really ensure everything is mixed well. Sprinkle over the rice flour, and combine again.
In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, oil, juice, vanilla extract, cinnamon and ginger. Pour this mixture over the dry ingredients, and using your hands, mix well to combine. The granola should be quite soggy. Sprinkle sea salt over, and combine again with your hands. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Turn the granola out onto your prepared baking sheet, and pat it into a very large, well packed rectangle. Place in the oven and bake for up to three hours, removing it every 20 minutes or so, and turning the granola over in sections to make sure it crisps every where.
After about 3 hours, remove the granola from the oven, and pat and pack the granola down quite well, and switch the oven off, but return the granola back to the cooling oven. Leave, undisturbed for at least another 2 hours, or even overnight.
Break the granola into large chunks, and store in air tight containers, for up to 2 weeks.