Last fall, I made a lot of applesauce. Slightly bruised apples were regularly on sale for 50 cents a pound or less at the farmer's marke...

What a Cluster...

Last fall, I made a lot of applesauce. Slightly bruised apples were regularly on sale for 50 cents a pound or less at the farmer's market, so I would take them home and make a huge batch of sauce to eat.

Of course, by the end of fall, I was sick of applesauce. Problem, meet solution: use applesauce to make granola!

Turns out, this was a key in discovering how to make clustery granola! I don't know about you, but I think granola is worthless unless it has clusters. Without them, it's just a higher calorie version of toasted oats. Boring.

The liquid in the applesauce helps the oats create that goop that makes a hot bowl of oats so satisfying. The flaxseed meal creates more goop, and all that goop dries out in the oven, making nice big clusters. So to get clusters, add plenty of liquid!

After some experimentation and adaptation, I came up with this incredible, clustery, low fat, delicious pumpkin granola recipe.

It is almost infinitely adaptable. Don't have pumpkin? Substitute any standard baking liquid with some flavor: applesauce or other fruit puree, sweet potato puree, maple syrup (not quite so healthy), etc.

Here is the basic formula:
8 cups oats
0.25c flaxseed meal
2.5c liquid (water, applesauce, maple syrup, honey, corn syrup, pumpkin, etc.)
60-70g sugars (brown sugar, maple syrup, corn syrup, honey, white sugar, sugar syrup, etc.)

Note that items can count towards both liquid and sugar categories. For example, 2T of honey is 2T of liquid and also has around 30g of sugar. (16 Tablespoons = 1 cup).

The granola isn't super sweet, but that's the way we like it. You can add less sugar, but make sure you taste it before it goes in the oven. If it isn't sweet enough, it will taste like crackers--grosser than unclustery oatmeal.

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Pumpkin Cluster F!@x Granola
makes not enough

8c (640g) rolled oats
0.25c (28g) flaxseed meal
3t ground ginger
2t cinnamon
0.25t cloves
0.25t nutmeg (freshly ground!!!)
1t chili powder
0.75t salt
2t vanilla
1c pumpkin puree
2T (42g) honey
3T (30g) brown sugar
1c water (or more)

1. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Because there is a lot of liquid, the granola has to cook long and low to evaporate all the liquid without burning the edges.
2. Mix all the dry ingredients together, stirring to mix well.
3. Add the wet ingredients, stirring well again. The oats should all be wet. If not, add more water (or more pumpkin).
4. Spread onto 2 lined baking trays (you won't need all the space) into a 0.5 inch layer. There may be a few gaps, but it should be a pretty solid layer. Pretend these are going to be Nature Valley granola bars.
5. Press the granola down firmly, until the top is flat.
6. Put into the oven for 35 minutes. Stir. Really, you will need a spatula to flip large swaths of granola cluster.
7. Shake and stir every 15 minutes until the granola is either about to burn or getting thoroughly dried. It will probably take about 45 minutes, depending on how much water you added.
8. Cool the granola thoroughly, then break into (slightly) smaller pieces.
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1 comment:

  1. Hi Michaela, I found your blog via Caroline Lind and was pleased to discover that you are the very same Michaela formerly Glaeser (?) who went to Berkeley High and then on to Princeton, just like I did. You also made the same transition from openweight to lightweight, though I am sure through a different slew of circumstances. I am really pleased to find out that you are still training and enjoying cooking, two things I love to do.

    I have an apple tree that gives forth FAR more than I can ever bake or cook with and this is a great idea for the applesauce I am bound to make this fall. I also have enjoyed making apple chutney, apple butter, and stuffed apples. If you ever want any free apples, let me know.

    Good luck to you in all your endeavors!
    Rachel Vandagriff


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