When I set out to make some granola, little did I know granola was such a touchy issue! I don’t think I’ve ever had more recipe results to wade through than when I googled “homemade granola“. Granola is dear to people’s hearts it seems. Some like it crunchy, some don’t. Some like it sweet, some don’t. Some insist it must be served on yogurt, others eat it as a snack or on ice cream. Some gathers in bunches, some is lots of loose oats. Some use quick oats, some use traditional rolled oats. Some use all sorts of dried fruits and nuts and seeds that I have no idea where I would find or what I would do with the leftover half bags. Etc. You get the picture.
After careful consideration (ok, mostly I just read the baking times and temperatures) I just made granola with what I thought granola should be made with. That is to say, things I already had in the house. Not including that horrible bag of dried apricots that followed me home in a moment of bad judgement – those will be dealt with another day, possibly to pelt children who push mine on the playground.
I’ve included a recipe but really, as long as you have your oats base and something to stick those oats together a little, toast it for awhile and you’ve got granola. You can throw in any nuts or dried fruits you like, which is the beauty of things like granola. Of course, if you follow this recipe you will have GREAT granola, if you like crunchy granola that is both exceedingly healthy (applesauce and honey, no oil or white sugar) and also exceedingly delicious (chocolately) this is the granola for you.
Personally I like my granola on yogurt or in my palm, so I like some crunch, and stirring the chocolate chips in when it is fresh out of the oven makes a very little bit of chocolate melt into deliciousness through the whole batch. Also, honey is gross and I don’t want my granola to taste like honey. If you like honey, you’ll probably like this just as much without the chocolate chips. (I jest, there is no way this is better without the chocolate chips. Obviously. But I like to give options.) Cook some today just for the amazing smell it fills the house with!
CHOCOLATEY CINNAMON GRANOLA
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
3 1/2 cups rolled oats (NOT quick-cooking if you want crunchiness)
3/4 cup sliced almonds
2/3 cup applesauce
1/2 cup honey
1 tbsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 250. Coat 2 small or 1 large baking sheet(s) with cooking spray and set aside.
Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, oats and almonds in medium bowl.
In large bowl, mix applesauce, honey and vanilla. Stir oat mixture into applesauce mixture until everything is coated and granola is beginning to gather into clusters. Spoon evenly onto prepared baking sheets.
Bake in preheated oven, stirring every 20 minutes, for about 1 hr – 1 hr 20 minutes, until lightly browned and just crisp (it will crisp up quite a bit more as it cools).
Remove from oven and stir in cranberries and chocolate chips. Allow to cool to room temperature, then store in airtight containers.
If you want your chocolate chips to stay whole, stir in the cranberries and chocolate chips after the granola has cooled to room temperature. Then they are pleasant surprises, not an all-over flavour.
I threw some in the fridge and some in the freezer since this makes a lot of granola if you’re the only one eating it…I don’t see how freezing could hurt it, I’m hoping if I thaw it in the fridge it will be as good as fresh and not get soggy, but I’ll have to report back on that one.
This is great in yogurt and fruit, added to plain cereals, or on it’s own as a super satisfying snack!