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My Mom makes the best granola EVER.  No, really, it is that good.  When I was home in August, there were three different kinds to choose from; I ate Greek yogurt with date granola every morning for breakfast.  The key to good granola is balance: salty & sweet, crunchy & chewy.  Mom has it down: the date granola has crispy oats, sweet and chewy dates and the perfect amount of maple syrup.  She keeps me well-supplied (thank you, Mom!), and because of that, I have never tried to make my own.  But yesterday, as I was checking some of my favorite food blogs, I stumbled on this recipe and it stuck with me.  I decided to give it a try.

The beauty of this recipe is that you can adapt it to what you have on hand and make a quick batch without doing much prep or shopping.  I have a lot of fruit butter in my canning cupboard right now.  Sometimes I worry that I will not use it “in time”.  I have been searching for recipes with fruit butter as a main component, and I am a little tired of making cake and quick breads, so this granola recipe really caught my eye.  It also appeals to the side of me that likes to healthy things up a bit (see my Apple Rhubarb Crisp post) by taking out some sugar or some fat.  I added no sugar, so all sweetness came from the dried fruit and the relatively small amount of brown sugar that’s in the apple butter.  Also, it’s a great pantry-cleaning recipe: I used the last of a bag of mixed dried fruit, a handful of walnuts and some dates, but you really can use any nuts, fruit and/or seeds that you have on hand.  My next batch will have dried cranberries or apples, maybe pecans or hazelnuts instead of walnuts, and I will remember to add the flax seeds that I love in Mom’s version.  Try different combinations; it would be hard to go wrong.

My final product is nicely-toasted, a little bit sweet and very tasty.  I might add some maple syrup next time, because I like how that tastes in Mom’s granola.  I could have used more nuts, but I think I got the date proportion just right.  I kept my fruit and nut pieces large, so it has a great texture.  Overall, I am really pleased with how it came out.

Give granola a try!  It is great for breakfast or a quick snack; it’s healthy and tasty and very easy to make.  You should go check your cupboard for supplies right now.

Apple Butter Granola

  • 2 c. rolled oats
  • 1/2 c. walnuts, chopped
  • 10 dates, chopped
  • 1/4 c. dried fruit (I used mango & cranberries)
  • 1 c. apple butter
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt (opt.)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Grease a cookie sheet and set aside.

Put oats, nuts, dates & dried fruit in a large bowl; pour apple butter over and mix thoroughly until everything is coated.  Pour mixture onto your greased cookie sheet and spread evenly.  Sprinkle with salt, if using.

Bake at 325 for 25-35 mins. (the original recipe said 35 mins. but mine was done at 28); use a spatula to turn granola every 10 mins. to ensure even baking.  Remove from oven and cool; store in a large plastic bag or other airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

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