I’ve been on the hunt for a good granola recipe for a long time. Maybe it would be more accurate to say I’ve been looking for the right granola recipe for a long time. There are tons of really good ones out there but I am looking for something very specific in my granola. Of course it needs to be healthful and tasty. I prefer it to be made with the most basic, whole ingredients (homemade granola made with store-bought cereal makes very little sense to me). Nuts are good, but not too many. I’d consider dried fruit but I always add fresh fruit to my cereal when I eat it anyway. Finally, too much oil and sugar moves granola from a healthy breakfast or snack into the realm of candy.
With all the granola recipes I’ve been wanting to make filed away for reference, I set out to come up with my own mix this morning. I was inspired by Steph Chows Mixed Berry Sucanat Granola to use applesauce as a replacement for oil. Now what about the sugar? My favorite brand of granola, Nature’s Path Hemp Plus, is hardly sweet at all. It’s lumpy, crunchy, light, and very satisfying. This morning I threw a few things in a bowl to try to recreate those characteristics. I was also just trying to use up the dregs of various ingredients in my pantry.
Not So Sweet Granola
2 cups thick cut rolled oats
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
2 cups wheat bran
1/4 cup flax seed meal
1/4 cup slivered almonds – or more if you’re more nutty than I am!
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
*1 cup applesauce
optional sweetener: 1/3 cup sucanat, maple syrup, agave, or honey
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
Add the applesauce and optional sweetener.
Mix until all dry ingredients are coated.
Spread evenly on a cookie sheet lightly coated with oil or lined with parchment/a silicone mat. (It helps if the cookie sheet has rims around the edge so the granola doesn’t go sliding off.)
Bake at 325 for about 45 minutes, checking and stirring things around a couple times during baking.
Cool completely on the cookie sheet and then store in an airtight container, adding dried fruit at this point if you’d like.
*I used one small container of unsweetened applesauce and one of sweetened cinnamon applesauce because that’s what I had left.
For this batch (lets call it Granola #1) I didn’t use any sweetener. I wanted to see what granola made with just applesauce would taste like and if it would even work. Well, it worked and it tastes great! It’s not sweet at all but it tastes pleasantly nutty from the flax and almonds and it’s very crunchy. The applesauce holds everything together nicely. So far I’ve just snacked on Granola #1 plain but I’m looking forward to trying it with some vanilla greek yogurt and a banana tomorrow morning! Next time I’ll try adding some maple syrup to see how that compares.