Having a food blog is a completely odd thing. I’m sure my neighbours wonder why I’m taking photos of my food on the balcony on at 8pm on a Wednesday evening (hello neighbours, it’s because there’s still some good light outside, duh!). My friends are patient when we’re out to dinner and I have to take a few snaps of our meals before we dig in. And even when I’ve found the quintessential granola, the granola par excellance, I find myself whipping up another totally new kind of granola. That’s what you do when you have a freezer full of homemade applesauce and you need another post for the blog.
I have a few different granola recipes on the blog, but the recipe from the Baked cookbook was the only one to have the revered Clump Factor. But it’s the amount of sugar & butter in this quintessential granola that creates all that wonderful clumping. I wanted to try something a bit healthier, so I used applesauce as a kind of natural binder to see what would happen. I was a bit worried, but after I let the granola cool overnight (I always bake granola before bed for some strange reason), I had reached clumping success! However, this granola isn’t for the impatient. This stuff requires some serious tending, stirring, flipping and swapping trays from the lower rack to the middle rack and then back again. It’s wet stuff and it needs time in the oven to dry out. But if you are into that kind of commitment, then it will be a win-win situation because this granola is good.
Take warning however. This granola isn’t dessert and it’s not very sweet. It does make a lovely breakfast especially when served alongside some vanilla yogurt and fresh strawberries. If you like things sweeter, then by all means add in more sweetener to the mix. The apple flavour is rather subtle but I think you could pump up that more by adding in dried apple bits instead of raisins or dried cranberries.
clumpy & crisp applesauce granola
6 c large flake oats
1/4 c flax meal
1/2 c wheat germ
1 T cinnamon
large pinch of nutmeg
1/2 t kosher salt
3 c whole almonds
1 c unsweetened shredded coconut
3 T olive oil
2 c applesauce
1/3 c honey or agave syrup (increase if you like a sweeter granola)
2 c dried cranberries or raisins or dried apple bits
Preheat oven to 300F. In a large bowl, mix together the first 8 ingredients. Add in the oil, applesauce and honey or agave syrup and mix well using your hands until everything is well coated. Spread mixture between two baking sheets lined with silpat or parchment paper and bake, turning mixture frequently and rotating pans until the mixture is dry and golden. For me, this took about 1 hour or a bit more. Add the dried fruit as soon as it comes out of the oven. Let cool and then store in a sealed container.