The past month has been a roller coaster of reevaluating our workouts and nearly everything in our diet (update coming soon!). Understandably, the fact that we’er now working out more means we’re also eating more, which of course leads to additional food expenses. Luckily the lack of more expensive convenience foods in our diet gives us a little extra wiggle room, but we’d still like to minimize additional expenses where we can — without going hungry. Enter fun DIY snacks!
Our favorite store-brought granola to date — luckily scored on sale recently!
As we are now hungry or eating every four or so hours, easy snacks like granola, jerky and other mixes of nuts and dried fruit are often our go-to. They particularly come in handy before and after workouts, in the morning when we’re rushing off to work, and that annoying time around 3pm where it feels like ages before dinner. Of all the snacks we’ve bought or made, our favorite seems to be granola.
There is a lot of benefits and misperceptions of granola. While it can provide a cohesively tasty blend of a lot of good-for-you nuts, fruits and light grains, modern variations seem increasingly loaded with sugar and oil. Not all granola is created equal, and if you can identify a good brand or blend you like, it can be a great snack or better yet, something you can make in your own kitchen!
This is my first attempt at granola with a base I developed based on the history of granola I plucked from books and articles and about 20 recipes with varying proportions of wet to dry mixes. Fair warning, this recipe proved not to be my “idea” of “perfect” yet; it’s a work in progress. But I wanted to share the progress of getting to my ultimate goal: A paleo-friendly granola with a perfectly light sweetness, lots of crunch and no oils or additional sugar (if possible). I think it’s cool to watch recipes transform, rather than just see the pretty picture end product don’t you?
5 cups rolled oats
1 cup raw almonds
2 cups dried apples, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 teaspoons apple pie spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¾ tsp. salt
¼ cup brown sugar (working my way down)
1 ¼ cup applesauce
¼ cup maple syrup
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup pepitas or sunflower seeds
- Preheat the oven to 325° F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat
- In a large bowl, combine oats, almonds, dried apples, apple pie spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and brown sugar. Stir until thoroughly mixed.
- In a small bowl whisk in applesauce, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Continue to whisk until smooth. Pour wet ingredients into oat mixture and stir until oats are completely and evenly coated and moistened. Spread mixture onto the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 20 minutes. Remove pan from the oven and slowly stir and turn oats. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the granola is golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and slowly stir in dried cranberries and pepitas. Let cool completely before transferring to an airtight container.
Enjoy as a snack, meal or a topping.
This granola has a perfect warm spice flavor, but for someone who likes crunch, I’m still craving more. I want more things to munch on and more crunch within the oats themselves. I think part of that will come from bigger, better quality oats in the next batch. Stay tuned for V.2!
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What are the big pieces? They look like dried apples, but I’m not seeing them in the recipe. Unless I’ve gone blind with old age, which is totally possible.
Nope you are right. I drafted this post late last night, and then finished it at work, so it’s more my fuzzy brain than your perceived old age 🙂
I just made my crunchiest batch of granola yet using some (unrefined) coconut oil. I’ve been fooling around with this “formula” for awhile: http://chocolateandzucchini.com/archives/2010/11/basic_granola_formula.php
Also, cardamom is my favorite spice addition. Good luck with future granola trials!
I just bought my first jar of coconut oil (ridiculous huh?), so I’ll definitely have to try that next. Must have crunch!
Mhmm, this sounds delish! Perfect for the Fall season! 🙂
Granola always feels like a fall food to me 🙂
Mmm… pepitas, cranberries, rolled oats. Sounds pretty near perfection to me. 😉
I love pepitas!
You have this tagged as paleo, but oats aren’t aloud in the paleo diet.