Granola has a reputation for being healthy, but much of what you can buy at the store is far from it…lots of added sugar and fat (in the form of some type of oil – some healthier than others). Or all of the fat has been removed and all that’s left are carbs (a little bit of oats plus a lot of other starch and sugar).
Besides the fact that there are 14 grams of sugar (3.5 teaspoons) in half a cup, LOOK at the ingredient list…do you really need all that to make granola?!?
My granola has a much shorter ingredient list. And it has fat in the form of coconut and almonds, but no added oils. The applesauce serves two purposes, to naturally sweeten the granola and to make it clump; so it replaces the oil and some of the sugar.
The grains, oats and puffed brown rice cereal (think whole grain rice krispies), are both whole grains. That and the applesauce/sugar/maple syrup are the foundation for this mix and match granola recipe. The combinations of spices, nuts, and dried fruit are endless.
I chose not to add dried fruit to mine. I’d rather add fresh fruit to the plain Greek yogurt (Fage) I plan on eating it with.
Coconut Almond Granola
adapted from bakingbites.com
makes 18 half cup servings*
3 1/2 cups rolled oats
3 cups puffed brown rice cereal
1 cup sliced of slivered almonds
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, optional
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut (unsweetened if you can find it, if not reduce the amount of brown sugar by 2 tablespoons)
- Preheat the oven to 325F and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or a Silpat.
- In a large bowl, combine oats, puffed rice cereal, almonds, spices, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, applesauce (do not use chunky applesauce), maple syrup, and vanilla. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir to combine. Spread on prepared baking sheets in an even layer.
- Bake for 30 minutes, then turn over the granola carefully using a large wide spatula. Add coconut, stir to combine, and bake for additional 15 – 30 minutes, until crisp and golden**. Depending on the size of your baking sheet, the center might not be fully dried if your granola layer is thick, so if necessary remove the edges of the cooked granola to a cooling rack and let the rest cook for another 10-15 minutes until done.
- Cool on pan. Break granola up as desired and store in an airtight container.
Per serving (1/2 cup) – 160 calories, 6.4 g fat (2.4 g saturated), 24 g carbohydrate, 3.2 g fiber, 9 g sugar, 3.6 g protein (exchanges: 1.5 starch, 1 fat)
* I prefer to do a half cup serving because I always eat granola with yogurt (usually Greek because I like the thickness/creaminess and the extra protein) and fruit and I think a whole cup would be too much. However, if I were to eat it with milk I might do a whole cup.
* * The granola continues to harden and get crunchy as it cools. After 15 minutes into the second part of the baking I took a few pieces out of the pan to cool on the counter and then tasted for desired “crunchiness”. I continued this until I was satisfied. I also reduced the oven temperature to 275F at the end to prevent it from getting too dark.
Note – This is seriously good granola! I recently made this again and swapped the applesauce for 3 pureed bananas. I changed the almonds to peanuts and added mini dark chocolate chips. I also added chia seeds…my new obsession!