Thursday, January 7, 2010

Sorta good for you if you squint Granola

For a while, I was on a kick where I ate yogurt and granola everyday for breakfast. Store bought granola cannot hold a candle to the homemade variety. I found this recipe back in 2008 but I don't remember from where.

I had to stop eating this daily because I was having some sort of weird sugar intolerance issue. The doctors did a whole mess of tests and couldn't figure it out. I was able to resolve the problem by watching my sugar intake, especially at breakfast. Also, my sugar issue seems to be worse in the warmer months. That's great for the holidays when sweets abound, but not so great for my yogurt and granola cravings which are most prominent in the spring and summer.

I figured out that this recipe makes roughly twenty 1/2 cup servings, with around 12 grams of sugar per serving. While that isn't great, it isn't horrible when it comes to granola. The problem for me was that the yogurt had at least that much or more grams of sugar. I tried the sugar free yogurt but I just wasn't thrilled with it. I also tried substituting splenda brown sugar, sugar free syrup, sugar free applesauce and only using 1/2 c raisins. These changes brought the sugars down to 5 grams a serving. Much more reasonable, but since I didn't like the sugar free yogurt I didn't see the point.

Mrblocko naturally likes the sugared up version best, so that's what I make these days. When it gets super cold out, he likes to crumble granola over a steaming hot bowl of oatmeal. I made this particular batch of granola for him, but somehow a small container of Greek yogurt fell into my grocery cart the other day. I wouldn't want that yogurt to go to waste! Besides, I'm all about quality control. He might just be saying the granola is good just to be nice. It's best to be 100% sure about these things. You know what they say, if you want something done right, you gotta do it yourself. They are so right.

So what makes this granola almost good for you? Aside from the fact that there is less sugar than the boxed version, there is very little fat. Almost all the fat comes from the nuts. There zero oil in this recipe. The applesauce and syrup are the binders. Yippee! Oh, did I also mention it is a ton cheaper as it's also good for you in the wallet.

Homemade Granola
3 1/2c oats (Rolled or quick cooking, rolled will be crunchier)
2 c rice krispies
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
pinch of cardamom
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c brown sugar
3/4 c applesauce (I like cinnamon applesauce best because I'm wacky on cinnamon)
1/4 c maple syrup, honey, or agave
1 tsp vanilla
up to 2 c chopped nuts
up to 1 c dried fruit

Preheat oven to 325. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment so you can be lazy and not have to wash the pan later. In a large bowl mix oats, cereal and spices. In a medium bowl whisk sugar, applesauce, syrup and vanilla. Pour wet ingredients into dry. Stir to combine. Add nuts. Stir. Spread evenly on a sheet. Bake 30 minutes. Turn over the granola carefully with a wide spatula. Bake 15 minutes until crisp and golden. If the center isn't dry, remove granola from the edges and set on parchment paper/cooling rack. Sometimes I need to flip the granola again and cook for another 15-20 minutes. Keep an eye on it and if you think it isn't crispy enough cook it until you are satisfied. Cool the granola on the pan or on a wire rack. Break up as desired. Stir in dried fruit. Store in an air tight container.

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