Iâ€™ve been on the hunt for a good granola recipe for a long time. Maybe it would be more accurate to say Iâ€™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. Iâ€™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 Iâ€™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, Natureâ€™s Path Hemp Plus, is hardly sweet at all. Itâ€™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 youâ€™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 doesnâ€™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 youâ€™d like.
*I used one small container of unsweetened applesauce and one of sweetened cinnamon applesauce because thatâ€™s what I had left.
For this batch (lets call it Granola #1) I didnâ€™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! Itâ€™s not sweet at all but it tastes pleasantly nutty from the flax and almonds and itâ€™s very crunchy. The applesauce holds everything together nicely. So far Iâ€™ve just snacked on Granola #1 plain but Iâ€™m looking forward to trying it with some vanilla greek yogurt and a banana tomorrow morning! Next time Iâ€™ll try adding some maple syrup to see how that compares.