Homemade Granola with Almonds & Apricots

When Mother Nature provided blessed relief from summer's scorching heat last week, I fired up the oven to make homemade granola with a recipe I've been working on for a couple of years now. One batch after another, my goal has been to reduce the fat and the sugar – for health and diet reasons, of course, but most of all to allow the oats and nuts and dried fruit to be the real stars. Finally, I've got it, to my taste (at least), the perfect balance of sweetness, toasted oats and nuts, and dried fruit.

Homemade Granola with Almonds & Apricots

Leave it to America to eat dessert in the guise of a ‘healthy breakfast’. Yep, that’s the typical granola mix, oiled and sweetened fruit and nuts albeit with a few grains thrown in.

Until I decided to accept granola for what it is – a sweet topping – it just didn’t settle well. Still, for the last couple of years, I’ve been working to remove most of the added sugar and fat in granola, working to create a ‘base recipe’ that’s healthy and natural.

Eat granola when it works for you. But if it’s been too sweet for breakfast, try it by the tablespoon as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up.

Better yet, try Greek yogurt topped with fruit and a spoonful of granola. Now that, that, that’s a dessert to live with.

ALANNA’s TIPS This large batch is too much for my small baking sheet so I split it in two, half in the baking sheet and half in a 9x13 pan. The mixture should be no thicker than an inch, otherwise it will steam, not roast, and get soggy. Watch the time carefully, granola moves from golden to burned just like that. I add the dried fruit after the oats and nuts are roasted, otherwise, the fruit dries out. To really reduce the sugar in granola, skip the dried fruit entirely and substitute another cup of seeds and nuts. Price-wise, there's no beating Trader Joe's for price and quality for nuts and dried fruit. I love that many nuts, especially during the Christmas baking season, have already been toasted! If your almonds aren't already toasted, throw them in the oven alone, first.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

HOMEMADE GRANOLA with
ALMONDS & APRICOTS

Just a little sweetness, just a little oil.
Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 45 minutes
Makes 6 cups (easy to divide or multiply for smaller or larger batches)
  • 3 cups (260g) old-fashioned oats (not quick or instant)
  • 1 cup (125g) toasted almond slivers or whole almonds
  • 1 cup (45g) unsweetened coconut
  • 3 tablespoons sunflower seeds or toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon (or a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (no skimping)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup or sorghum
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 cup (134g) dried apricots, cut into slivers
  • 1/2 cup (78g) dried sour cherries or dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350F. Line one or two baking sheet (see TIPS) with a silicone mat or spray lightly with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, coconut, seeds, spices and salt. With a spatula, carve out a well in the center and pour the olive oil, maple syrup and vanilla into the well. Stir well, take time to do this to evenly distribute the liquids.

Transfer mixture to the baking sheet and bake until golden brown, about 20 – 35 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes after 20 minutes.

While mixture is still warm, stir in apricots and dried cherries. Stir well to distribute the heat, let cool.

Transfer to a tight container and refrigerate. For gifts, transfer to pretty glass jars, label and store in the refrigerator. Best used within a week or two.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per quarter/half cup: 135/270 Calories; 7/14g Tot Fat; 2/3g Sat Fat; 0mg Cholesterol; 50/100mg Sodium; 16/32g Carb; 3/6g Fiber; 7/13g Sugar; 3/6g Protein; Weight Watchers Old Points 2.5/5.5, PointsPlus 4/7 This recipe has been 'Alanna-sized'.

A Perfect Balance of Sweetness and Toastiness


Homemade Granola with Almonds & Apricots

With less sugar and less fat, this granola stays loose and pourable. No sugary clumps!


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I love homemade granola - I've been working on mine for a couple of years now too!

I like to freeze half of the batch right away (when it's cooled, of course!) - that way I don't have to worry about it going stale in the cupboard.
 
Kris ~ We have "granola" in common too, then! What are your goals, working on your recipe? PS I store granola in the fridge cuz yes, otherwise it does go stale after a few days.
 
I love making homemade granola as well. The box varieties just don't compare. This sounds delicious.
 
V eats granola every single morning (!) so I've had a chance to work on the perfect granola recipe too, tweaked to his taste. Turns out the one he likes best is very similar to yours, but with no oil at all. Who knew? I often add a touch of molasses to mine.

Do you find that the salt settles to the bottom and the last helping of granola is too salty? That's happened to me, and I try to dissolve the salt in a sugar (or maple syrup or whatever) solution before adding it to the granola.
 
Vicki ~ So glad to find our little "club" of granola makers!

Nupur ~ Every morning? Wow! I tried to go to "no oil" so would love to know how you got there. And I LOVE the idea of a little molasses, consider it a given in the next batch! I've never had an issue with the salt but your solution is a good one. I do find that salt is really important to the taste.
 

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna