Saturday, May 7, 2016

Apple Pie Granola


This recipe appeared as my cooking column in the May 5th edition of my local newspaper,  The Hinton Voice.  


[I’ve been making homemade granola for as long as I can remember.  In my early days of cooking, I would use my library card liberally to take out as many recipe books as I could.  I remember one book in particular that was bound in hardcover and heavier than any school text book I currently had in my backpack. After pouring over this book for weeks (and lets be honest, probably incurring a great deal of late fees if current me is any indication) I discovered a how-to manual for making the perfect granola.  It called for a little of this, and a little of that, with heavy suggestions of substitutions.  The beauty of granola is that it’s incredibly easy to mix up depending on what you have in the house, right down to the type of oats you use – rolled, large flake, old fashioned, instant, quick oats… I have used a variety over the years and I haven’t had a granola that didn’t turn out yet.]

Granola Making Tips:

Mix the sweetener (maple or honey) and vanilla in first so the oats have a chance to absorb the flavor before adding butter or coconut oil.

Add nuts ½ way through baking to give them a nice toasted flavour (the full time would be too much).

Only add dried fruit to granola after it’s out of the oven.

Recipe makes approx. 4 cups

Ingredients
- 2 cups oats (I like old fashioned for this recipe)
- 1/3 cup maple syrup (or honey)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 5 tbsp butter or coconut oil
- 2 tbsp seeds (flax, chia, hemp or a combination of all three)
- 1 tsp apple pie spice (1 tsp cinnamon, ¼ tsp nutmeg, 1/8 tsp allspice or cloves, 1/8 tsp cardamom,)
- 1 cup pecans or walnuts
- ½ cup dried apples, chopped

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the oats and maple syrup and vanilla in a medium sized bowl.  Next, add butter or oil and mix.  Add seeds and spices and combine thoroughly.

Spread mixture evenly onto a cookie sheet.

Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven, stir, and add pecans or walnuts.  Return to oven for an additional 10 minutes, being careful to watch in the last few minutes to ensure the granola doesn’t burn.  You’ll know it’s ready when the edges are golden brown, and your house smells like you just baked an apple pie.

Once the granola is ready, give it one last stir, then add chopped dried apples and allow to cool.  Store in an airtight container (a 1 L mason jar works great) for up to a week.


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