I didn't used to like granola until I made this one. I think that my mother-in-laws granola, that I've always made a version of for Ben, turned me away (sorry Susan). Her granola is more like muesli, not very sweet, filled with saw-dust (wheat bran, oat bran, wheat germ) and starts with a bunch of oil.
This one is quite different. A friend of mine mentioned adding apple sauce, so I started experimenting and the results were very exciting. A crispy, crunchy, appley sweet granola without any oil! The mixture starts out pretty wet but eventually gets crispy and golden in the oven. Not enough apple sauce and it's not crispy and too much you might end up with a chipped tooth. I think that this is the right ratio:
- 1 cup apple sauce
- 1 cup honey/maple/rice syrup mixture add more if you like it sweet
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tbs almond extract
- 3 tbs cinnamon
- 3 cups almonds (slivered, blanched. whole)
- 5 cups rolled oats (I really like "thick" oats)
Mix all ingredients in a big bowl. Toast in a 300 degree over in two big pans, stirring every 15 minutes for 1 hour, more often towards the end. It should feel almost dry when you take it out. Add dried fruit after it has cooled if you like. I like dried cherries with this combo. I also like pecan/vanilla/coconut with dried cranberries.
1/2 cup of frozen blueberries (thawed for 20 minutes in my bowl), 1/2 cup of plain yogurt, 1/4 of granola and a cup of tea with milk and honey = satisfying breakfast. What's even better is a tea drawer full of the finest teas and a shelf full of jars of different kids of granola to chose from. Now that's living the good life.