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Growing up, Sunday mornings meant cold cereal. We looked forward to those mornings because our parents made them special. We never ate cold cereal any other day of the week, just Sundays before church. The rest of the week Mom cooked us pancakes, waffles, hash-browns and eggs, applesauce oatmeal, Scottish oatmeal, Cream of Wheat or breakfast burritos. I laugh now, remembering that we thought the processed, boxed cereal beat out the other homemade treats. Strange kids. Now I prefer any other option, including oatmeal, but with that silly thing called a job, I find few mornings with time for measuring cups, sauté pans or even boiling water. I just don’t like getting up any earlier than I need to! So, I typically make the most important meal of the day a bowl of granola. But, have you ever read the ingredients on a box of the stuff? And the healthier options just get me even further into debt. My version below includes olive oil, flax seeds, maple syrup, all my favorite ingredients! I added applesauce to reduce the fat content (plus, the applesauce really helps to create wonderful clumps, the best part!), and used maple syrup and honey as the sweeteners. And I know with every bite exactly what I am getting.

Granola - Before baking

I love that you can really make a granola recipe your own, as long as you keep the proportions of liquid to dry ingredients correct. Feel free to experiment! That is the best part of cooking. I didn’t add dried fruit to mine because I just don’t like it that much, but definitely add some if you are a fan!

Cinnamon-Almond Granola

3 cups rolled oats

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp sea salt

1 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut

1 cup Scottish oatmeal (you can substitute quick oats, or just add more rolled oats. Do not use steel-cut oats)

1/2 cup golden flaxseed meal

1/2 cup golden flax seeds

1 1/2 cups sliced almonds

1/2 cup applesauce, very smooth (I used my recipe and pureed the applesauce in a food processor. Chunky applesauce is yummy, but doesn’t work as well as an oil substitute!)

1/2 cup real maple syrup

1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Combine the oats, spices, salt, coconut, Scottish oatmeal, flaxseed meal, flax seeds and almonds in a large bowl. In a separate bowl combine the remaining ingredients and mix well. Thoroughly mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Spread the granola evenly on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring well every 15 minutes. The granola should be very golden brown when done. If you like it extra clumpy, as soon as you remove it from the oven, place another sheet of parchment paper on top of the granola and press down firmly and evenly. Remove the parchment and let the granola cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Granola - After baking

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