Thursday, May 3, 2012

Hearty Cinnamon Granola

YUM.  Trust me on this one.  YUM.  As much as I love a bagel or waffles or even a bowl of cereal, one of my favorite breakfasts is still fresh fruit, yogurt, and granola.  It's got all the best things- sweet fruit, tangy yogurt, and crunchy granola.
But here's the thing, most store-bought granola is some kind of crazy calorie-packed "health food."  It's like granola makers just kept daring each other to make a granola with more calories than the other person.  And now the result is record-setting calorie levels in the country's granola.  I'm pretty sure that's what really happened.
And I recognize the irony of my calorie-complaining because my previous post was Brown Butter M&M Cookies.  But I don't eat those for breakfast (usually).  So I was determined to find a lower calorie version of granola.  Aaaaannddd, I did!  
The great thing is, granola is totally customizable.  If you've got the basics down, you can mix in any dried fruits, nuts, or cereal you like.  And I love to eat it with yogurt and fruit but it's great for snacking or even with a bowl of milk.  And snacking.  Lots snacking.  So much snacking.  

Here's the recipe!

3 cups of rolled oats
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup applesauce
1/3 cup honey
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup coconut
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried cranberries

1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees and slightly spray a baking sheet.
2.  In a large bowl, combine oats, sliced and slivered almonds, and cinnamon.  Mix until combined.  
3.  In a medium bowl, combine applesauce, honey, vegetable oil, and vanilla and whisk until incorporated.  Make a well in the center of the oat mixture and pour the applesauce mixture in the center.  Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, combine ingredients until well coated and evenly mixed.  
4.  Pour onto prepared baking sheet in an even layer and bake for about one hour,  stirring every 15 minutes while baking.  Incorporate coconut about half way thru baking.  Granola should be golden brown and slightly crisp when done.  Allow to cool on baking sheet.  When cooled, stir in chocolate, cherries and cranberries. Store in a sealed container to keep fresh.