In case you haven’t heard yet, homemade granola is sooooo much better than most of what you’ll find in stores (that is, unless you want to pay a small fortune).
I’ve been making granola for years now, but until recently I just kept fiddling with the recipe and it never seemed quite right. The really delicious granola was too full of fat and sugar and calories to qualify as a breakfast food. When I tried to keep it somewhat healthful and modest in calories, it was little more than toasted oats and not too enticing.
Eventually, I adopted some guidelines for tasty and pretty-good-for-you granola:
- Use applesauce and a little water for moisture and sweetness
- Stay in control of the nuts — they’re delicious and healthy but highly caloric!
- Don’t turn the granola for the first half hour if you want some clumps in the mixture
- Skip the dried fruit (if you do use it, put it in after the granola is done baking); fresh fruit is lower in calories and delicious
Probably most important, if you don’t want your breakfast granola to make you fat, use it as a topping rather than serving yourself a big bowl of it! I love having it atop yogurt and fresh fruit — just a few tablespoons adds crunch and interest.
Plus, using it only as a topping means your precious jar of granola will last longer.
Usually I have fruit and yogurt and granola all summer long, and switch to steel cut oats when the weather turns cooler. But this fall, I just haven’t been able to give up my granola! The fruit is not as varied as above, but I defrost some of the berries I froze during the summer, and sometimes add some apple or pear.
So, here’s the recipe below — and I know some of you will want to add dried coconut so go ahead — if you must!! (I don’t like it). Variations are limited only by one’s taste and imagination!
Good Morning Granola
- 3 cups rolled oats, regular or thick (not instant)
- 1/3 cups nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, pecans — whatever you like), coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon flax seeds (and sometimes I add another tablespoon of sesame seeds)
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon oil (olive, canola, sunflower, etc.)
- 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 -2 teaspoons spices or to taste (your choice: cinnamon and/or ginger are good; I sometimes like garam masala)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- Warm up the applesauce, water, oil, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, spices and salt and stir the mixture together in a big bowl.
- Add the oats, nuts and seeds to the liquid mixture and stir until the oats are well coated.
- Spread the oat mixture out on a cookie sheet and bake on an upper rack for 30 minutes.
- Open the oven and gently (so as not to break up the clumps) turn the granola, moving the darker pieces along the edges to the middle.
- Bake another 8 to 10 minutes, then check to see if it is dark enough. It should be a dark golden color. If it needs to bake more, check it every few minutes so it doesn’t burn. The granola will get crisper as it cools.
- Take out the cookie sheet and put it on a baking rack to cool completely before you put it in a jar.