Homemade granola may well be one of the easiest, most rewarding cooking projects you’ll ever attempt. (Photo by Rose McAvoy)

Homemade granola may well be one of the easiest, most rewarding cooking projects you’ll ever attempt. (Photo by Rose McAvoy)

Homemade granola: Wonderful to eat, wonderfully simple to make

I remember my first batch of homemade granola. I was sure something so wonderful would be complicated to make at home. I mean, if making cereal were simple, why would there be an entire aisle of the grocery store dedicated to this breakfast staple?

Weeks before, I sampled a fresh batch of granola made by a friend who shared the tasty treat with our moms’ group. It was incredible! Each bite was full of nuts, dried fruit, aromatic spices, and of course super crunchy oats. It was leagues beyond my usual breakfast cereal to the extent that those first toasty bites felt more like a dessert than a nutritious breakfast food.

For days after, I thought about the combination of sweet toasty oats and crunchy nuts; I could nearly taste them they were so vivid in my mind. I wanted to enjoy the flavors again. However, my unfounded ideas of what the process might involve made me hesitant to try making my own. When it became clear the memory would not be dismissed, I made up my mind to give making granola a try. As I gathered the ingredients for my friend’s recipe I mentally prepared for a challenge.

As it turns out, I could not have been more over the top in my thinking. By the time my first batch of homemade granola was cooling I realized granola was probably one of the easiest, most rewarding cooking projects I had ever attempted. In fact, I was so proud of my newly developed skill I went on to make batch after batch to give away as Christmas gifts. I am snickering now but at the time, I was so nervous I was somehow going to fail at homemade granola, I almost gave up before turning on the oven.

This homemade granola, with fragrant cinnamon and crisp apple chips, is even easier than the recipe I fell in love with years ago. Compared to both commercially prepared and homemade granola recipes this one uses very little added sugar or fat. There is just enough oil to coat the ingredients thus allowing the oats to achieve that essential crunch I love. The subtle flavor of agave gives a quiet boost to the natural sweetness of the apples and cinnamon without competing to be the dominate flavor. If agave is not in your pantry it can easily be replaced with and equal amount of honey.

For a super-fast breakfast that tastes a lot like apple pie, sprinkle a bit of this granola with a couple teaspoons of minced pecans and serve over plain Greek yogurt. If you are really pinched for time, layer it in a container with yogurt on the bottom, berries in the middle, and granola on the top, seal it up with a tight fitting lid and take your breakfast to-go. This granola is so much tastier than those pricey coffee shop parfaits and you will save both time and money by making your breakfast at home.

Experienced granola makers will love this simple recipe featuring bold autumn-inspired flavors. For anyone newly aspiring to make homemade granola, this apple cinnamon homemade granola, is the perfect recipe to become confident in this rewarding skill. I hope you will be so excited you share your new love with family and friends.

Low-fat apple cinnamon granola

2 cups old fashioned oats

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil (may substitute other neutral-flavored oil)

2 tablespoons agave (may substitute honey)

2 teaspoons cinnamon

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon ground all spice

1 cup Bare apple chips, Fuji & Reds, crushed into pieces ½ inch or smaller

Pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats with the oil, agave, cinnamon, salt, and all spice. Stir until the oats are uniformly coated with the seasonings.

Spread the oats on the prepared pan then bake for 15 minutes, remove from the oven and stir gently, then return to the oven to continue baking for an additional 15 minutes. The oats will be a toasty color and very fragrant but feel soft when stirred. Gently stir in the crushed apple chips. Allow the granola to cool completely before storing in a sealed container. Keep the granola in a cool dry cupboard, it should stay fresh for up to 2 weeks.

Note: Make a day ahead to give the apple flavor time to fully infuse the oats.

Makes 12 ¼-cup servings. Approximate nutrition per serving: 99 calories, 3g fat, 97mg sodium, 17g carbohydrates, 2g fiber, 7g sugar, 2g protein

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