Friday, April 20, 2012

Low-Fat Granola

Random thoughts about granola:

  1. I like to think of granola as a choose your own adventure. Don't like maple syrup? Use honey! Allergic to pecans? Double the almonds! Can't stand dates? Leave 'em out! Please feel free to make this granola your own. 
  2. Granola is simple to make, but all the stirring makes it kind of putsy. So I always make big batch. Then I have a million servings of granola to eat. A good problem, but it requires some creativity because...
  3. What do you do with granola? Here are my ideas: eat it straight up, make a parfait with yogurt and fruit, sprinkle it on oatmeal, add it to your favorite cereal, use it as an ice cream topping. And then I get stuck and hope I've eaten all the granola by then. If you have any favorite uses for granola, please share them in the comments section. It will be much appreciated by us all. 

Low-Fat Granola
Adapted from

2 tablespoons canola oil
1/3 cup real maple syrup (Don't use the fake stuff here.)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
4 cups old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup wheat bran
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup chopped dates
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine canola oil and maple syrup. Stir frequently and turn off the heat when the mixture begins to bubble. Stir in vanilla extract and almond extract.

Meanwhile, combine oats and wheat bran in a large bowl. Pour the maple syrup mixture over top and stir until everything is evenly coated.

Spread the granola into a thin layer on a very large, rimmed baking sheet (or 2-3 small baking sheets if you're like me and don't have a very large one.) Bake for 10 minutes.

Add the almonds and pecans and stir the mixture well. Continue to bake the granola for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. The granola should be golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Once granola has cooled, stir in chopped dates, dried cranberries, and raisins. Store granola in an airtight container for up to four weeks.

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