Monday, January 20, 2014

Not too sweet granola

Let me tell you what I love about this granola.  I adapted this recipe from the blog Orangette, which is a blog that I have been reading for years but is a bit tough for someone avoiding dairy.  Lots of her recipes, especially the yummiest sounding ones, involve butter, cream and the like.  But in the post about her daily granola, she actually recommends having it with soymilk, over dairy yogurt or milk.  So there you go, a granola that tastes better dairy free!  

If I'm going to take the time to make something at home that I can easily purchase at the store (there are lots of delicious dairy free granolas!), it had better be healthy.  So I set out to make a less sweet version of her granola that I think is quite tasty!  If you are used to eating store bought granola (which is loaded with sugar), I would suggest increasing the brown sugar to 3/4 cup (which is how much Orangette recommends).  

Not Too Sweet Daily Granola
adapted from Orangette 

Dry ingredients:
5 cups rolled oats
2 cups pecan pieces (or halves if that's what you've got) 
1 cup raw sunflower seeds (hulled)
1/3 cup sesame seeds (or more if you like the flavor of sesame seeds)  
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. salt

Wet ingredients:
¾ cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/3 cup brown rice syrup
¼ cup honey
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil, such as canola or safflower

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix the wet ingredients in a smaller bowl.  Add the wet to the dry and stir until evenly coated.  Spread the granola evenly onto two cookie sheets and bake for about 40-45 minutes total.  However, every 10 minutes or so, you will need to stir the granola and rotate the pans so you aren't cooking one of them on the lowest rack of the oven the whole time.  (Set a timer for the total cooking time as well as a 10-minute timer or, if you're anything like me, you'll forget entirely!)

I've found that figuring out when granola is done is a little trickier than most recipes let on.  I like mine to be crispy so I make sure to bake it until it has started to get golden brown but hasn't developed a dark brown color yet.  It will still be soft at this point, but will harden as it cools.  Make sure you stir it when you take it out of the oven and then a few more times while it's cooling so it doesn't get all stuck together.  

Store in an airtight container. When I make granola and store it in a mason jar, it makes me feel like Martha Stewart but, of course, a gladware container will do as well! If you want to keep it for a long time, refrigerate.