Making granola, like making yogurt or tofu, was practically required for the Mother Earth News reading, funny cigarette smoking, barefoot live off the land types that we once were. I never bought granola back then, mostly because it was more expensive than making your own. Even the stuff in the co-op or health food store didn’t compare in either price or flavor to what I could make myself.
Unfortunately, my old recipe had an unbelievable amount of oil, making it very high in fat, and as we get older, we don’t burn off fat as well as we once did, so I stopped making it. I tried a couple different store bought low fat kinds but they mostly tasted like cinnamon infused cardboard. Reading the ingredient list is even less appetizing. Even if you had a wicked case of the munchies, you don’t want to eat that junk.
Then I ran across Nigella Lawson’s recipe which uses applesauce instead of quite so much oil, lowering the fat content somewhat and still tasting amazing.
I have to admit that I am not always so crazy about the results of substituting applesauce for fat in recipes – I understand wanting to find an easier-on-the-hips way to make brownies or what have you, but I am rarely a fan of the result. In this case though, I actually think it tastes better and I can’t imagine going back to my old recipe.
And now, there are so many more easily accessible ingredients for granola making – I used a mixture of rolled oats, barley flakes and wheat flakes, as well as adding some quinoa flakes for the increased protein. Quinoa flakes have a bit of a vegetable-y quality about them normally, but in here they just kind of disappear into the mix so that you can’t really taste it much, but you still get that all important protein boost at breakfast time.
I added some of my favorite seeds too – golden flax, chia and sesame – each brings a unique bit of nutrition, fiber and flavor along. Coconut oil and unsweetened coconut chips both get added in for flavor and because they are good for you.
Use whatever dried fruit you enjoy, keeping mind that dried fruit is pretty high in sugars, albeit natural ones, but that they also add to the fiber count, not to mention a huge flavor boost and a little additional sweetness.I’ll admit, this takes a little more effort than opening a box from the supermarket, but I think you will agree that the result will be worth the bother. So, we better get going!
- 6 cups cereal grains [any combo of oats, wheat or barley]
- 2 cups quinoa flakes
- 2 cups coconut flakes
- 1 cups sliced raw almonds
- 1 cup coarsely chopped raw pecans
- 1 cup coarsely chopped blanched hazelnuts
- ½ cup sesame seeds
- ½ cup flax seeds
- ½ cup chia seeds
- 1 & ⅓ cups unsweetened apple sauce
- ½ cup honey [vegan option - use agave]
- ½ cup maple syrup
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- 2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 -3 cups dried fruit of your choice [raisins, apricots, sour cherries, apples, plums, etc], chopped if needed
- Preheat the oven to 300º and line two large, heavy baking sheets [18 x 13 inch] with parchment paper.
- In a very large bowl, combine the grains, quinoa flakes, coconut flakes, sesame, flax and chia seeds and the nuts. Mix well.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the applesauce, honey or agave, maple syrup and coconut oil. Heat until the oil melts.
- Whisk in the vanilla, salt, cinnamon and ginger.
- Pour half of the applesauce mixture over the grain mixture, and mix to combine.
- Add the second half of the applesauce mixture and mix to combine that as well. [it is easier to get the applesauce completely combined if you do in two steps]
- Spread the mixture evenly on the two pans - it is going to fill them both right up.
- Bake at 300º for a total of 40 to 60 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes or so to break up large pieces and cook evenly.
- When it is toasty and evenly cooked, remove to cooling racks.
- Immediately, mix half of the fruit into each pan - the residual heat will meld the fruit in without making it get hard.
- Once cooled, store in tightly sealed containers - will keep up to a month. you can freeze it to keep longer.
Don’t cook the fruit – just add it after you remove the granola from the oven – it will get melded into the cereal without getting dried out and hard.
You can enjoy this granola on yogurt, straight out of the container, or my favorite – in a bowl with milk – yum! A copy of Mother Earth News propped up in front of you is optional, but not a bad idea.