On my drive home from school one day, my mind wandered (as it pretty much always does) to my cooking and baking plans for the following week. I ran through my mental list and settled on apple pie. I haven’t made one in so long and hello! It’s September and September means apples. I continued on with my mental list and remembered that I needed to make up another batch of breakfast granola that night. Just like that, apple pie granola was in my head. And it wouldn’t leave. I stopped off at the store on my way home to pick up some dried apples and apple pie granola was happening.
Like most simple foods created to highlight a certain ingredient, the quality is of the utmost importance. I’d recommend using homemade applesauce (this one is a cinch in your slow cooker) for a rich, deep granola with just the right amount of apple pie flavor. Try to find unsweetened dried apples and cranberries, if at all possible, to make sure your granola stays just on the side of breakfast instead of dessert. Then savor this breakfast treat while you rejoice in the fact that mornings are finally starting to get just a touch cooler.
Apple Pie Granola
an “Apple a Day” original
3 1/2 c. old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 c. chopped walnuts
1/4 c. flax seeds
2 TBSP chia seeds
1 TBSP ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. applesauce (homemade or unsweetened, if store bought)
1/3 c. pure maple syrup
1 TBSP lemon juice
1 1/2 c. chopped unsweetened dried apples (not freeze-dried)
1 c. unsweetened dried cranberries (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat.
2. In a large bowl, mix together oats, walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Add in applesauce, syrup, and lemon juice and stir until thoroughly combined.
3. Spread mixture onto prepared baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes then remove from oven and gently stir. Place back in oven and bake 15 minutes more. Remove sheet from oven and place on a wire cooling rack. (Some pieces of granola may still seem slightly soft. They will crisp up as the cool.)
4. With granola still on baking sheet, carefully stir in dried apples and cranberries, if using. Allow granola to cool completely before placing in an airtight container. Keeps up to two weeks at room temperature. Serve alone as a snack, over yogurt or fruit, or with milk as a cereal.