I’ve been more or less self employed my whole working life — for better or worse. Thinking back, my first attempt at business was when as teenagers my brother Craig and I started a breakfast cereal company around 1969 in Aspen. It was the height of peace & love, when folks wore flowers in their hair and were out to change the world by being mellow. One important ingredient of being hip and mellow was the food, which at least among our circle was best raw and organic. Or at least mostly raw, as the variety of organic foods available these days just wasn’t happening back then.
Anyhow, we bought the ingredients in bulk, mixed everything up with heated honey at our parents’ house, then sold the stuff by the one-pound bag at local food markets.
Making the cereal was a hoot. Health department? What health department!? We did keep it clean and on the level, but almost blew it once bigtime. We’d started on a batch and the first mix had this funny taste. Not particularly bad, but not great either. We went on with the process, up to our elbows stirring the sticky brew of oats, barley, puffed millet (our trademark ingredient) and tons of honey.
It was the honey. We’d heat the five gallon tin of commercially packaged honey on a wood stove, so we could pour it over the batch in a giant mixing bowl (otherwise known as a food grade trash can). We’re pouring honey for this batch, and out pops this funny looking wad from the can. That looks weird, I think, and grab the thing. I let out a disgusted explicative as I discover we’ve been disinterring a mummified mouse as we merrily mixed our hippie breakfast brew. Ever hear about how they used to use honey to embalm Egyptian mummies? Now you know it works. Did we ever distribute any of this batch? Memory fades, let’s just say nobody died.
I still like muesli even after that mind altering experience, and love the way folks I’ve visited in Europe ladle it over their morning yogurt and fruit for the perfect breakfast combo. But our “Dawson Brother’s Muesli” recipe is too complex for my present taste in health cereal, plus the oats go down better for me if they’re cooked in some fashion.
Thus, enter WildSnow Baked Muesli. Now, before I get a slew of foodie comments regarding my use of the word “muesli,” let me just say that while what I’m presenting here could also be called granola, I’m sticking with calling it muesli because it’s got some raw ingredients, and is not sugar and honey glopped to the point of being more like broken up oatmeal cookies than any semblance of healthy breakfast cereal.
The WildSnow Muesli recipe is simple. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a deep sided baking pan, spread out a 1 1/2 inch thick mix of rolled oats (slow cook “old fashioned” cut) and mix in sliced almonds to taste. I usually use about 1/4 cup of almonds (I like almonds). Bake the mix, stirring every 5 to 8 minutes. Watch for the almonds and oats beginning to brown, and remove from oven when you’ve baked the mixture to your taste. Takes about 15 minutes for me, but you could go longer or shorter depending on taste. If you go too long the almonds can char, so be careful not to ruin a batch that way. While the mix is out of the oven and still hot, stir in 1/8 to 1/4 cup of flaked unsweetened coconut (or use sugary baker’s coconut available at grocery store if you want your kids to eat this). If you like more raw ingredients, add the almonds after baking the oats.
Open air cool then store in ziplocks or other sealed container. We refrigerate because of the coconut, but baked muesli will last a number of days unrefrigerated. Serve mixed with sliced fresh apple or banana, with yogurt or soy milk for texture. Enjoy, and you’ll be strong.
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.