Sunday, September 28, 2014

Simple Maple Granola

I've been making my own homemade granola for years now and I absolutely love it. I see absolutely no reason to buy a bag of granola at the store. First of all it's expensive, way more expensive than oats and sugar need to be. Second, it's never anywhere near as good as what I can make at home, customizing to my own individual preferences. My Homemade Granola Bars are still at the top of my list of favorite recipes, and they are the most popular post on this blog by far. If you've ever wanted to try making your own crunchy granola bars I highly recommend you give this recipe a try! I've also done Chocolate Granola, and Spiced Pumpkin Granola, both fun, a little different, and delicious. The pumpkin granola would be perfect to make right now, just as pumpkin baking season is taking off!

Recently though, I was looking for something simple, an easy recipe that I could whipped together quickly, and that was a little on the healthier side so I could eat it as a snack without feeling too guilty. A lot of granola recipes delicious, but they have tons of sugar and fat in them. I wanted something a little lighter. I decided to try out The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook's Big Cluster Maple Granola with a few adjustments to fit my needs. It's a winner folks! Just what I was looking for. Light and simple and perfect for snacking!

This recipe is actually similar to my Maple Almond Granola, also a great recipe, but was just a little closer to what I wanted this time. Like I said, I made a few changes to the recipe so it was a little more my style. I cut out the coconut and replaced it with extra oats because I don't usually have coconut on hand and I'm not a big fan of it in my granola anyway. I also cut back slightly on the sugar because I was looking for something that wasn't too sweet and I added an extra egg white because it seemed like the oats needed a little more moisture to hold them together.

So when all was said and done I've got new favorite snack. Lightly sweetened, crunchy and toasty granola to sprinkle on my yogurt, eat as cereal with some milk, or snack with out of hand when my mouth is craving something sweet. I've made this recipe several times now and it's still making me happy every time.

Lightly Sweetened Maple Granola
Adapted From The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook via Serious Eats
  • 8 cups (640 grams) old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup (~100 grams) walnuts, almonds or pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup (50 grams) wheat germ (toasted if you'd like)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 3 cups (430 grams) dried cherries or another dried fruit (optional)
Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Combine all ingredients but the egg whites and dried fruit (if using) in a large bowl, tossing to coat evenly. Whisk the egg whites in a small bowl until frothy. Stir into the granola mixture, distributing it throughout. Spread it in a single layer on one or two baking sheets.

Bake for 55 to 60 minutes. About halfway through the baking time, use a large spatula to turn over sections of the granola carefully, breaking them up as little as possible. Rotate the pan if granola is baking unevenly. When it is evenly browned and feels dry to the touch, transfer the pan from the oven to the cooling rack (make sure it's completely dry before you take it out, you don't want soft granola, you can add more time if you need too). Cool completely. Sprinkle in dried fruit if using.

Store granola at room temperature in an airtight container. It lasts for several weeks. 

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