February 8, 2013

The Great Granola Experiment

Now that I'm not working as much,  I have more time to play in the kitchen as well as in the garden. Saving money where ever I can has become more important too. With all that in mind and the fact that we eat granola and yogurt almost every morning, I decided to make my own granola again. I had a really good granola recipe from back in the 70's and I guess if I had wanted to wade through a ton of old recipes I could have found it. But heck, life is an adventure so I figured I could recreate it from memory.

What I came up with turned out pretty good but there were a couple of things I will do different next time. I remembered that the old recipe called for apple sauce, of course oats, nuts and cinnamon. I decided to add brown sugar, raisins, dried bananas and apples (that I had dried last fall) dried cranberries, flax seeds and I used English walnuts instead of the pecans that the original recipe had called for.  The applesauce was cinnamon applesauce so I didn't add extra cinnamon. I started with 8 cups of old fashioned oats and added about half of a 48 oz. jar of apple sauce - this turned out to be too much. I had to cook it way too long to get it to crisp up. Next time I will use one 12 oz. jar instead. I also put mine in baking dishes to cook - ended up taking it out of the oven and spreading out on cookie sheets to finish it up.

I waited till the oat, applesauce, brown sugar and nut mixture was browned and cool before I added the dried fruit. Even with the extra cooking and  too much applesauce the finished product was real good! So here is the recipe I will use next time.

8 cups of old fashioned oats
12 oz. cinnamon applesauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup of chopped walnuts
2 Tablespoons Flax Seeds
Mix all the above in a large mixing bowl until moistened. Spread this mixture onto cookie sheets covered with parchment paper or lightly oiled with vegetable spray. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until lightly browned, stir a couple of times during cooking to keep the bottom from burning.  Cool mixture on the baking sheets. After oat mixture is cool put back into large bowl and add any or all the following:
1 cup raisins
1 cup Craisins
1 cup dried apples (cut into bite size pieces)
1 cup dried bananas
Dried cherries would be good too as well as dried mango or pineapple pieces.

I put enough for us to use for a week in a plastic container and stored the rest in vacuum sealed bags and put them into my freezer to eat later. For less than $10 I made enough preservative free cereal for us to eat for a month; bearing in mind that we normally go through one $3.00 box of store bought granola a week.

Give it a try. It actually doesn't take much time and the results are yummy!

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