On 31st March 1979, my parents got married. One year later they returned home from work, tired and late, to discover a small pile of envelopes inside the front door. It was their first year anniversary and, while a few friends and family had posted little notes and celebratory letters, the pair of them had completely forgotten.
Until today, I thought this was unlikely to ever happen to me. I’m organised and I’m excitable, two traits which mean that when it comes to birthdays, anniversaries and celebrations, I’m always in there early. You know the girl who complains that her boyfriend completely forgot her birthday/Valentine’s Day/insert any other day designed to make our men look bad? Not me. I’m the one reminding him at least three weeks in advance then gleefully (and noisily) counting down to the celebrations day by day.
Except that this weekend I totally failed to mark the second birthday of this little baking blog. Oops.
In my defence, we were away watching a (seriously fantastic – even if I’m biased – book tickets) show my brother had directed. In between being a very proud little sister, travelling to and from Manchester and inhaling spoonfuls of caramelized white chocolate (ok, so I managed to do a little bit of baking, maybe I can blame all that sugar for making me forget the date in question?), there wasn’t a lot of time to think about things like blog birthdays. So here I am, six days later, without a sumptuous candle-covered cake or epic bake in sight.
What I do have to share is a simple batch of granola I baked up on Tuesday evening. My go-to breakfast at the moment is a sort of bircher muesli involving oats soaked in apple juice, but it’s a little too liquid to safely pack in my bag for mornings when I go to the gym. Granola mixed with yoghurt and fruit is a good alternative, but after running out of this homemade chunky granola, I began to wonder whether an apple juice-sweetened version might just be the perfect bridge between the two.
When we were little my Mum always used to put tahini in her flapjacks. Since granola is essentially bits of flapjack crisped and crumbled and reinvented as a ‘healthy’ breakfast, I thought it could stand up to the same ingredients. A quick google confirmed that tahini granola does indeed already exist. Because of tahini’s viscous, seedy (in the nicest possible way) qualities, I omitted any oil altogether and the clumps crisped up beautifully (any amount of crunch lost being next to negligible).
So to celebrate turning two, here’s an oil, butter and refined sugar-free granola, sweet with fruit juice and stirred through with nutty tahini and crunchy seeds. It’s hardly the fully blown sugar, butter and flour-filled bonanza I might have otherwise planned for a second birthday, but I suppose it’s very honest. Plus there are plenty more reasons to be celebrating in 2013 and I promise it won’t be long before I find an excuse to wheel out the richest, most indulgent recipes you can imagine.
Without making this sound like the Oscars, I couldn’t end this post with a really quick thank you. For continuing to visit my little space on the internet. For taking the time to comment. For sending me your incredible, amazing (and sometimes slightly strange) requests and photos. And for making me excited about what the next two years (and more) have in store.
Naturally Sweetened Sesame Tahini Granola
125ml cloudy pressed apple juice
75ml maple syrup
2 tbsp tahini
2 tsp vanilla extract
250g rolled oats
60g pumpkin seeds
25g sesame seeds
2 tsp flax seeds
Preheat the oven to 150 degrees C. Line two baking trays with parchment.
In a small bowl, mix together the apple juice, maple syrup and tahini. Stir in the vanilla extract and salt.
In a separate bowl, combine the oats, nuts and seeds. Pour over the liquid ingredients and mix to combine. Spread in a thin layer on the baking sheets and bake for forty minutes, stirring every fifteen minutes or so to ensure that the mixture bakes evenly.
Remove from the oven and break into clumps of your desired size (I like it chunky). The granola may feel a little soft but don’t worry, it will crisp as it cools. When still slightly warm, stir in the raisins then leave to cool completely.
Store in an airtight container for up to one month. If you can make it last that long.
34 RESPONSES TO Naturally Sweetened Sesame Tahini Granola
I have to say there are a lot of recipes for granola and museli on the internet but yours is lovely. Its the first one I have read all the way through and it looks delicious as everything you make. Happy blogaversary. I enjoy your blog for its interesting recipes that still use butter ad sugar and flour and all things nice. I so tire of paleo and grain free and sugar free and all things free. It doesnt mean i still dont read them and love some of the people writing them , but I come to you because you are ……you. looking forward to your stuff
What a lovely comment, thank you 🙂 I try to eat healthily, but some things just taste better the way they were intended to be made, with lots of flour, butter and sugar!
As much as I love eye candy and food porn, I never disdain a simple, healthy (and may I add quite brilliant actually!) and every day recipe like the one you posted. It is more real, it is more what our every day life is about. So thank you and happy 2 year blogversary!
Hear hear, thank you 🙂
Tahini is brilliant in flapjacks, isn’t it. People always think I’m a bit weird when I suggest it. This granola sounds yum but what with the rain and a toddler I have a feeling the caramelized white chocolate brownies may come first!
Ooh, tahini in granola! What a great idea! I LOVE tahini, could practically eat it with a spoon from the jar…except that’s a bit gross. Happy blog birthday! Mine is coming up in April (3 years) but I bet I forget too…!
Happy blog birthday!! Your granola looks absolutely divine. I absolutely love eating granola as a snack, without milk.
I’m the same. I’ve forgotten every single blog birthday over the last 7 years, and by the time I remember I think it’s too late to celebrate so I never celebrate or write a post about it. But my actual birthday is different. I’m like you, and get very excited in the lead up to the day.
Thanks Jennifer. It’s so good on it’s own isn’t it? My fiance always sneaks handfuls, spills some on the floor then asks how I knew he was sneaking those handfuls… 🙂
I’ve been making loads of granola in the past few weeks. Will have to try some tahini in it! Or in flapjacks.
Happy blog birthday! I’m really excited for my 4th at the end of this month – I have a special idea all lined up 🙂
I bet whatever you have planned will be suitably incredible. Looking forward to reading the recipe 🙂
I have recently been looking for some healthy granola recipes. I really like this and the idea of using tahini paste to sweeten is really good. Thank you!
The tahini isn’t the sweetener, it’s the apple juice and maple syrup. Tahini helps bind it all together and crisp it up and adds a lovely nutty flavour 🙂
A very happy blog birthday to you! I adore tahini and will definitely give this a go. It’s great to find other ways of using it and I also love it in salad dressings. Granola is a big hit in our house 🙂
i’ve always wanted to use tahini in granola and now you’ve gone and done it and make it easier for me. =)
can’t wait to try this!
incorporating tahini is something i never thought of doing. sounds great!
I’ve never heard of using tahini with oats, I’ve always got a good stock of tahini (for japanese dressings and all things ottolenhi!) so wouldn’t hurt to experiment, sounds tasty. Happy Blog Birthday!
It’s a really delicious combination – my mum always put it in her flapjacks, I guess a little bit like some people use peanut butter.
Congratulations! What a spectacular two years too. Nb, am loving the idea of the tahini in this- it’s just brilliant.
Oh I like the sound of this very much. Your mom sounds like a woman ahead of her time — I would’ve never thought of adding tahini to a batch of granola, but it’s pretty clever. And you seem to follow in her footsteps — sweetening the granola with apple juice is very smart.
Happy anniversary to your blog!
Ah my Mum is going to love you for saying that! 🙂
Happy birthday! And what a great post, tahini is a great food item and using it in a granola bar is a genius idea. My family is Greek and we’ve always limited it to savory spreads, but this is so much better!
Happy (belated) 2nd Blogiversary! Who needs a fussy, dramatic cake? I’d much rather have something healthy and scrumptious- especially when tahini is involved. 😀 (Great idea to toss some into flapjacks!)
Happy Blog Birthday Kate!!! Just wanted to say that I love visiting your blog, there’s always scrumptious recipes, gorgeous photos and lovely stories. God bless and here’s to many more years of baking and blogging xx
Thanks Jaime, what lovely words. Can’t wait to see what the next two years have in store 🙂
I love the use of apple juice and tahini and the absence of butter, oil and refined sugar in this recipe. Congratulations on your two successful years of blogging. You brighten up my week and inspire me to bake a larger variety of treats and the Internet wouldn’t be the same without you. Here’s to many more years of The Little Loaf Blog.
Ah yes, my second blog birthday passed me by somewhat too. We should definitely do something for number 3 next year so we both don’t forget!
Love the idea of tahini in granola; granola is my breakfast pretty much every morning so this sounds perfect!
I need to try this granola. Tahini is finding it´s way in so many recipes, I think it´s an amazing ingredient. Happy birthday! I celebrated my first year with pancakes… I´m checking out those flapjacks now!
Seeing your brother’s show sounds a lovely way to celebrate your blog’s birthday, even if you didn’t quite realise it at the time. Many happy returns, I know I shall be returning again and again for sure.
Your granola recipe is delightful. I’m always a bit put off making granola because of the oil. I may eat far too much in the way of sugary treats, but I do like a good healthy start to my day. Even though I’ve used tahini in flapjacks and been pleased with the result, I’d never have thought of using it in granola – what a truly excellent idea.
This is definitely the recipe to try if you’re not keen on oil – the tahini is oily enough to do the job!
This looks delicious 🙂 I was wondering, can I use some other fruit juice instead of apple?
Yes, apple juice works best but the flavour isn’t that strong so another juice should be fine.
Is it all right without the apple juice?
You need the apple juice for both liquid content and sweetness. If you’re leaving out, you’ll need a little more maple syrup or a liquid sweetener like honey x