Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Apple Cinnamon Granola (Oil and Sugar Free!)

You won't believe how light this granola is compared to conventional sugar and fat laden recipes.  It is sweet, crunchy and flavourful, with lots of yummy clusters.  While it bakes, it also fills your kitchen with the most amazing aroma.  Perfect thing to make right before you show your house if you're selling.  Guaranteed it'll cause a bidding war!

My last healthy granola recipe got rid of the oil, but still had sugar (maple syrup).  Maple syrup, honey, agave, coconut sugar, etc., are all less processed than white sugar, but they are still high in calories, raise blood sugar and can cause tooth decay.  This is why I often use both 'artificial' and 'natural' alternatives to sweeten food.

I am perfectly comfortable using sucralose (Splenda) because there is a large body of research proving its safety.  But I also use stevia, xylitol and erythritol, which are all natural, low-calorie sweeteners that do not raise blood sugar or cause tooth decay.

Product image for SKU 6927

For this recipe, I used erythritol and it worked beautifully.  But if you don't need your granola too sweet, you can rely solely on the apple sauce and cinnamon to sweeten it.

1.5 cups unsweetened apple sauce
1/4 cul erythritol
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt
Fresh grated nutmeg, to taste (optional)

4 cups large flake oats
8 cups unsweetened, puffed rice cereal
2 tbls whole chia seeds

Mix-ins: 1/2 cup chopped, dried apples, 1/2 cup raisins

Optional additions: dried apricots, pecans, walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds

Whisk together wet ingredients and spices in a large bowl.  Add dry ingredients and stir until dry ingredients are well coated.  Spread in a single layer on 2 baking sheets and bake at 325F for 35 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so, until golden.  Let cool and then stir in desired additions. 
Store in an air tight container.

Big A declared this the best granola I've made yet, so good, it can be snacked on plain, not just eaten with milk or yogurt.  Little A, who typically is not a big fan of granola, said even she likes it, and has been grabbing handfuls whenever she has the chance!