I had always assumed that everyone knew the difference between muesli and granola. The difference, I was told, had to do with whether all the ingredients were raw with no added sugar (muesli) or were baked, bound together with butter and some sort of syrup like honey or maple syrup (granola).
Yet, there are similarities. Both muesli and granola are based on grains – usually rolled oats, but they can be mixtures of different sorts of grains. Both can also have added dried fruits and nuts. It is usually easy to spot the difference as granola is usually golden and sometimes forms clumps (which is caused by the amount of butter and syrup). Muesli is generally lighter, drier and looser.
Both are marketed as healthy breakfast cereals. Here in Greece, on my supermarket shelf, among the ‘healthy’ cereal options, there seems to be some sort of confusion in labelling. Packages are clearly marked ‘Muesli’ but are golden oat clumps loaded with added sugar and often with candied fruit or chunks of chocolate mixed in. They are obviously not muesli, but granolas. I also wonder if any of them can be called healthy cereals. The candied fruits and chocolate chunks might be a clue.
Some people prefer muesli, but I like a little sweetness and a bit of crunch in a cereal. So, to avoid those super sweet Greek ‘mueslis’ (i.e. granolas), I make my own muesli-like granola. I do not claim that it is super healthy, although it probably is more healthy than many other breakfast cereals.
This is an adaptable recipe. Keeping proporions the same, you can substitue the type of rolled grain, the nuts (or seeds) and dried fruits, the added spices, the flakes and the syrups. Since it uses less butter and sweetener than most recipes, the resulting granola is loose like muesli and doesn’t form clumps.
- 600g rolled oats
- 110g melted butter
- 80g honey
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 100g almonds
- 100g hazelnuts
- 150g raisins or a mixture of dried fruits
- 200g bran flakes or sticks, optional
Preheat oven to 150° C. You may want to line the baking sheets with foil.
In a large bowl, measure out your oats, cinnamon and nuts – mix. In a smaller bowl, mix melted butter, honey and salt. Pour this into the oats mixture. Mix well with rubber spatula so that the oats and nuts have become coated with the butter and honey. Spread oats in an even layer on 2 baking sheets and bake, stirring once and switching positions of pans halfway through, until golden, about 20 minutes.
Remove from oven, but leave the baked oats on the trays as it will crisp a little as it cools. Transfer back to the large bowl, cool, add dried fruit and optional bran flakes/sticks, and toss well. Store in air-tight containers at room temperature up to one month.
Options: Sometimes for a seasonal change, I substitute with walnuts and pumpkin seeds for hazelnuts and almonds, dried apple pieces and dried cranberries for the raisins, pumpkin pie spice instead of cinnamon and maple syrup for the honey. I’ve also been thinking up a tropical version with macadamia nuts, coconut slices, dried banana and mango. Then, there is a fruit of the forest option with dried cherries and berries. I am sure there are many more combinations to meet each one’s taste.