I so much enjoyed my Pumpkin Spice Granola, that I had to make another batch of homemade whole-grain goodness. I switched up the ingredients a bit, opting this time for the simple – but delectable – pairing of maple and dates. Toasted walnuts or pecans would be a delicious addition, if you so choose.
Although not as prominent in the culinary world as vanilla extract, maple extract is a fantastic ingredient. The viscous extract adds an unparalleled aroma and flavor to foods, and is absolutely necessary for this granola recipe. Frontier makes an all-natural, alcohol-free maple extract that it readily available in most natural-foods stores.
I once again borrowed Nicole‘s idea of subbing in applesauce for oil, which does a surprisingly great job of creating a crunchy granola. This slightly sweetened Maple Date Granola is the perfect topping for oatmeal, cereal, or yogurt, but my favorite way to enjoy it just might be straight out-of-hand.
Maple Date Granola
yields about 6 (1/2 cup) servings
- 3 cups rolled oats
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp maple extract
- 1 cup pitted & chopped Medjool dates (about 8 plump dates)
- Preheat oven to 325*F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Meaure the oats into a large bowl, set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the cinnamon, salt, applesauce, maple syrup, and both extracts. Whisk until very smooth.
- Pour wet ingredients over oats and stir until the oats are evenly coated. Spread mixture on the prepared cookie sheet in an even layer.
- Bake for 30 minutes. Remove sheet from the oven, stir the granola, and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the granola is golden brown and crisp.
- Remove granola from the oven, toss with chopped dates, and cool completely. Store in an airtight container.