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Maple Date Granola

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

Ingredients:

  • 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)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325*F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Meaure the oats into a large bowl, set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cinnamon, salt, applesauce, maple syrup, and both extracts. Whisk until very smooth.
  4. Pour wet ingredients over oats and stir until the oats are evenly coated. Spread mixture on the prepared cookie sheet in an even layer.
  5. 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.
  6. Remove granola from the oven, toss with chopped dates, and cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

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