Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Great Granola Experiment of 2010

{Please excuse the sad looking, hand-me-down table.}

This afternoon I made a triple batch of the Easy Homemade Granola I posted about last Tuesday. Halfway through baking the granola, I decided to do a little experiment. In the past I have often used unsweetened applesauce in place of oil when making granola. I decided to make a single batch of the Easy Homemade Granola substituting all of the oil for unsweetened applesauce to do a side-by-side comparison of the original recipe and the oil-free version.

After the granola baked and cooled, I did a comparison of the look, texture, and taste of each batch. As seen above and in the following photograph, the original version of the granola (in the larger bowl on the left) was a bit darker in color than the oil-free version, though both were baked for the same length of time. The oil-free version, not surprisingly, had a faint apple flavor while the original version had a satisfying deep, toasted flavor. The oil-free version formed fewer clusters, and the ones that did form were less crisp and crunchy than the clusters of the original version. Overall, I must say that I preferred the pleasantly toasty flavor and crunchy texture of the original granola over the oil-free version, though the oil-free granola was certainly yummy and would be a great option for those looking for a healthier option. I'm curious to see how substituting some, but not all, of the oil for unsweetened applesauce would affect the recipe.

I kept my camera with me in the kitchen while I was baking, taking photos of each step in putting the granola together.

Oats, cinnamon and salt are tossed together in a large bowl.

Oil (or unsweetened applesauce, if using), honey, brown sugar, and vanilla extract are whisked together in a medium bowl until combined.

The mixture will be thick if using oil and relatively thin if using unsweetened applesauce.

The honey mixture is poured over the oats and thoroughly combined.

The mixture is spread out onto parchment-lined baking sheets and placed in a 325 degree oven.

10 minutes later, sliced almonds, walnuts, and pecans are sprinkled on top.

The mixture is returned to the oven and baked for 15 more minutes, flipping the granola at least once.

The baked granola will be several shades darker than it was before baking.

Once completely cool, add the raisins and cherries and store in an air tight container.

Get the recipe here.

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