It is a fact that American food products have become so prevalent in Lebanon that one can find the same boxes of cereals, cake mixes and jello as in the US. The shelves of the supermarket near my apartment in Beirut are filled with every cereal imaginable. Lebanese don’t like to feel left out, you see.
I did not grow up eating cereals so I never developed a taste for them. What I do like, a lot, is granola.
Here is my Lebanese version, made with wholesome tahini and grape molasses.
Grape molasses is an ancient food; apparently the Greeks ate it and still do, and so did the Phoenicians and now Lebanese folks. Considering how bad refined sugar is supposed to be and how healthful molasses is, there is no question which of the two one should adopt as a sweetener for daily meals.
This granola is very easy to make, just watch while you toast it in the oven. Use any nuts you fancy and try it with grape molasses or date molasses or carob molasses or apple molasses, just try it with molasses! (not pomegranate though).
- 3 cups of old-fashioned oatmeal (not instant)
- 1 cup of walnuts, broken in small pieces
- 3/4 cup of grape molasses
- 1/3 cup of tahini (to taste)
- dash of salt (optional)
- 1 cup of assorted nuts and dried fruits: pistachios, raisins, dates, coconut, etc
- Place the oats in a bowl; add the cut up walnuts and mix. Set the bowl aside.
- Pour the tahini in a small bowl; add the molasses and stir. The mixture will turn caramel-colored and will be sweet. Taste it and adjust the level of tahini, adding more if you wish to have more of a tahini flavor.
- Mix the molasses mixture with the oats and nuts thoroughly to coat every oat flake. When the oats and nuts are glistening, spread them out on a foil-lined cookie sheet.
- Toast in a preheated oven at 325F or 160C, not more, to avoid the risk of burning the oats. Check every 10 minutes and stir the mixture with a wooden spoon. It should turn brown and will get crispy when cool; the process should take about 30 to 45 minutes.
- Cool the granola. Mix it with more nuts if you wish and store it in a closed container in the fridge. Use as needed with milk for breakfast or as a snack. It will keep for at least three weeks, if not longer.
To read about the benefits of molasses, click here.
Template for this recipe from joyofbaking.com