The Christmas markets have officially started here in Brno, the city’s Christmas Tree has it’s lights and all the shops are decorated to the brim with Christmas decorations – I think it’s officially the Christmas season. Where has this year gone!?
Christmas season to me has always been a mixture of summer and winter celebrations/decorations/food. In New Zealand, Christmas time is during the summer but because we are so influenced by America and England, a lot of our cards, Christmas carols and food are winter-themed. It’s a little strange… It’s been nice to fully embrace the winter Christmas feel here in Brno and I have been making the most of enjoying the foods that come with this time of year – like gingerbread.
I l-o-v-e Gingerbread, especially when topped with sliced pear and blue vein cheese (don’t worry, I didn’t put the blue vein cheese in the granola) and something about it feels so comforting and Christmasey – don’t you think? Although I’d happily eat gingerbread cake or cookies for breakfast every morning, I don’t think my dentist would approve. Thus I decided to bring gingerbread to my morning granola instead.
This gingerbread granola is packed with flavour and has every spice you’d expect to find in gingerbread like – ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and a hint of black pepper – all of which provide depth and warmth. Because I love the combination of pear and gingerbread so much, I added pear puree which together with some honey and molasses, adds sweetness and marries with the spices perfectly.
This granola is perfect to eat all year round of course, but it becomes extra special during this time of the year. I think it would also make the perfect addition to the Christmas breakfast table this year too. In which case, a few added sprinkles of crushed gingerbread cookies wouldn’t go a miss – Christmas is the time to indulge after all, I just won’t tell my dentist 😉
Gingerbread granola also makes the perfect gift. You can package it up in clear cellophane/brown paper bags or glass jars with pretty ribbons/string – it’s too good not to give away as a Christmas gift.
If you have never made granola before because you think it’s too much work – think again! The great thing about making granola yourself is that it’s so easy (you basically just mix everything in a bowl, spread onto a tray and bake!) and your house will smell like a sweet spice shop all morning – and an added bonus is that it’s not full of sugar like the ones in the shop often are and you can alter flavours to suit your own taste.
So, give this gingerbread granola a try this Christmas season – I promise it won’t let you down.
- 2 pears, peeled and sliced
- 80g dates, chopped
- 380g (3 cups) wholegrain oats
- 110g (1 cup) rolled oats
- 110g (1/2 cup) sunflower seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper (optional)
- 100g (1 cup) nuts, chopped (I used brazil nuts and hazelnuts)
- 60g (1/3 cup) flavourless oil (I used sunflower oil)
- 80g (1/3 cup) liquid honey
- 1 heaped tablespoon of blackstrap molasses *
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1. Place pears and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil then simmer until pears are cooked and are soft (about 10 minutes). Using a stick blender, puree the pears until smooth. You should have about 3/4 cup.
- 2. Preheat oven to 170C (340F) and line a large baking tray with baking paper.
- 3. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients and stir well until well incorporated.
- 4. In a smaller bowl, combine all wet ingredients and stir in pear puree. Add this mixture to the dry mixture. Using a large spoon, stir the granola until everything is well combined.
- 5. Transfer the granola to the prepared tray, spreading it out so that it is evenly distributed. Bake for 40 minutes, stirring half way through cooking.
- 6. Cool completely on baking tray then add dates.
- 7. Package in jars/bags to give away as gifts, or enjoy it yourself for breakfast/snacks!
- Granola will last up to 3 weeks when stored in an airtight container.
- * You could use ordinary molasses, extra honey or golden syrup as a substitute at a pinch
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