Granola started as Granula in the 18th Century. A Dr. James Jackson from New York invented a health food Granula by forming a dough with graham flour and baking it to make graham clusters. It was the first cold breakfast cereal invented. Granula got its name from the granules formed. A Dr. John Kellogg took Jackson’s cereal invention and started producing his own Granula. But instead of the graham flour clusters, he used oats. The oats went through a rolling process to flatten and flake the grain to make it chewable. Jackson sued Kellogg for copying his invention, so Kellogg renamed his invention Granola.
The granola our supermarkets carry today is usually laden with additives and artificial sweeteners and often overpriced. We tried turning to muesli, but we find it too bland, almost like chewing on rabbit-chow. Muesli was also invented by a doctor, but in Switzerland. The difference between muesli and granola is that they comprise of almost identical ingredients, except there is no sweeteners added to muesli, and the product is never cooked or baked.
Over the weekend we tried to bake up matzo granola. We are not Jewish, but the box of matzo we have sitting on the shelf is expiring soon, so we put it to good use by replacing the oats in the usual granola with matzo broken down to bite size pieces. We used a box of 16 matzo of size 3×6 inches and ended up with roughly 4 1/2 cups. Mix in a handful of roughly chopped nuts, coat the ingredients with 1/2 cup of honey (or maple syrup), 5 tablespoons of coconut oil (or melted butter), 1 teaspoon of salt, a few sprinkles of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cocoa. Spread the granola out on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 350F for 40 minutes. Stir and turn the matzo every 10 minutes or so while it’s baking. When the 40 minutes is up, remove from oven and stir in 1 cup of dried fruits (diced apricots, figs, dates, raisins, cranberries are all good), let cool in the baking sheet. The matzo will crisp up when cooled. Serve with plain yoghurt, milk, or eat it straight as a snack. Store the leftover in air-tight containers.