Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Granola Goodness Part Two!

As is true with a lot of my recipes, this idea started when I wanted to use up something that I had hanging around in the fridge; in this case, it was some jarred applesauce I had bought to make zucchini bread a week or two ago. Given my granola kick, I wondered if anyone had ever thought to use applesauce in granola instead of oil, like you would do with a cake or other baked good.

Lo and behold, the Google revealed to me that others had this thought, too!

Because I'm still on my pumpkin kick, I used pumpkin spice as my seasoning rather than just plain old cinnamon for some seasonal interest. This recipe is on the sweeter side as far as granolas go, which makes it really yummy for direct snacking and also great on plain greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey. Om nom nom.

 Granola for the whole week!

Pumpkin Spice Applesauce Granola

Significantly altered from Baking Bites

Yields approximately 5 cups of granola

3 1/2 cups old fashioned (NOT quick cooking!) oats
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (regular, not the chunky kind)
1/8 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 - 3/4 cup mixed nuts (I used 1/2 cup walnut baking pieces and 1/4 cup sliced toasted almonds)
1/2 - 3/4 cup dried fruit (I used raisins, but cranberries or just about any dried fruit would be great here, too)

1) Preheat oven to 325 F, and line a large baking sheet (or two smaller sheets) with parchment paper.

2) In a large bowl, combine oats, pumpkin spice, and salt. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together brown sugar, applesauce, honey, and vanilla.

3) Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Add nuts and stir to combine. Spread on prepared baking sheet(s) in an even layer.

4) Bake for 20 minutes, then gently stir, rotating the granola from the edges into the middle to ensure even baking.

5) Bake for an additional 20 minutes or until the granola is dry and crispy. It will get crispier as it cools. It might be necessary to stir the granola again at this stage if you need to bake it for a much longer time.

6) Set pan on a wire rack to cool. Once cooled, break up granola as desired, and stir in dried fruit. Store in an airtight container to retain crispiness.

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