Apple-Cinnamon Granola, photo by Donna

Apple-Cinnamon Granola, photo by Donna

This granola smelled so good when it was baking it actually drew Donna out of bed early on a weekend morning—she’s a winter bear and not easily extracted from within the comforter.  So I had to post, even though I’ve already posted on granola.  This uses the same technique of creating a sweet fruity sauce to toss with the oats and nuts, which I love.  Instead of strawberries and banana I used crisp sweet apples (next time I’ll see how using Granny Smiths work), pureed in a blender skin and all.  By chance, as I was avoiding getting to work by poking around in favorite blogs this morning, and I came across David Lebovitz’s granola, which uses apple sauce (from a Nigella Lawson recipe); David notes that any fruit puree will work.  So, the notion is hardly new but you can’t beat the nutty apple-cinnamon warmth in a kitchen on a winter morning.  This recipe makes a boatload—I store it in 4 quart-sized deli cups in the freezer to keep it fresh—but it’s easily halved.  Granola is forgiving and infinitely variable.

Apple-Cinnamon Granola

3 Fuji apples, cut in large pieces, core discarded

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup honey

1/4 cup canola oil

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 large container of regular rolled oats (about 2 1/2 pounds)

3/4 cup wheat germ

1/2 cup flax seed

2 cups slivered almonds

2 cup walnuts chopped but left large

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees (use convection if you have it).

Combine the apples, brown sugar, honey, canola oil, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a blender.  I use a Vita Mix which is really powerful.  If yours isn’t strong enough to get things moving you can add a little water (it will cook off eventually). Blend until the apples are thoroughly pureed.

Combine two-thirds of the oats, and the remaining ingredients in a large roasting pan.  Toss to distribute the ingredients, then pour the sauce all over the oats and nuts, stirring and tossing as you do to distribute the sauce as uniformly as possible.

Slide the pan into the oven and bake for about an hour and a half, until the granola is no longer soggy, stirring every 20 minutes or so.  You’ll know it’s getting close to being done when no steam rises while you’re stirring.  Remove it from the oven, add the remaining oats, stir again and allow it to cool before storing.