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Homemade Granola Q

Hello,
I am trying to come up with a good homemade granola recipe, and have a couple of questions. 1.) Does anyone know why so many granola recipes have sesame seeds in them? I haven't ever really noticed the sesame seeds once it is cooked, and don't recall seeing them in granola I've bought at the store. And, it is always tough to find sesame seeds in my neck of the woods. Can I safely omit them, or is there some intangible sesame seed quality I am not thinking of? 2.) Has anyone successfully substituted applesauce for all or part of the oil that is usually used?

Many thanks!

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  1. I don't think there is any reason why you cannot omit sesame seeds. They just add to the mix, nothing essential. I think that applesauce would make it soggy. I would just reduce oil if you think it is too much. Also, I would not add the dried fruit before putting in the oven to toast. They just get burned and hard - much nicer to add after toasting.

    1. My Mark Bittman recipe doesn't use oil at all and it is delicious. I often skip the sesame seeds without any problem.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Mandy

        I don't use oil in my granola either - it tastes great, so I don't think there is a need...

      2. I make homemade granola all the time.

        A couple of thoughts- Sub the oil? I'm sure I only use a Tbs or so.. not much. Also- make it with anything you'd like- that's the beauty. I agree that applesauce will be mushy and undesireable.

        Here's what I do. I gently heat some honey, molasses, cane syrup, brown sugar or whatever I've got/wish to use with a Tbs of oil to make around a cup total. To this I add some cinnamon, or allspice, or pumpkin spice, and/or cardamom, and a little vanilla.

        In a large bowl, I mix together rolled oats, toasted flaxseed, various sliced/chopped nuts, flake coconut, maybe some sunflower seeds. Probably about 4 cups of this total. It's mostly oats.

        I add the liquids, toss with hands, put on a parchment lined cookie sheet, cook about 10 minutes at 300 degrees, stir it around, cook another 10-15, let cool. Then toss with dried fruits of my choosing. Or not. Your granola is what you want to be in it.

        1. I always substitute applesauce for oil in my granola. It doesn't clump up but maybe that is my recipe's fault, not the lack of oil. I say forget the sesame seeds. I can never tell if I've put them in or not. Also, word to the wise with flax seed... use ground not whole seeds and it is better just to sprinkle it on just before you eat. It retains all its healthy qualities that way. Adding fruit is a matter of preference. I cook my granola in a low oven and stir often and my fruit is never burnt...just plump and chewy ... just like I like it!

          1. Experiment with quantities of wet/sweet/fat ingredients to dry. I usually use 4 cups of oats, 1 cup of sunflower seed kernels, 1 cup of coconut, and 1 cup of sliced almonds. To this I add 1/4 cup butter and 1/4 cup honey melted and stirred together. I think the one cup of sweetener with 1 tbsp oil suggested by cheesemonger is way too sweet, but to each his own. I find 1/4 cup honey makes my granola plenty sweet. I don't use sesame seeds. But after the second stirring (after about 15 minutes) I add a half-cup or so of wheat germ. After cooling it I add whatever dried fruits I have on hand or was on sale - chopped dried apricots, cranberries, blueberries, cherries, apples, mango, raisins, whatever. There is no need for precision and any combination of nuts that appeals to you will be just fine as long as rolled oats are the main ingredient.

            3 Replies
            1. re: janniecooks

              I'm going to try this today -- I want a project for the rainy day! Any specific brand of oats that you get usually? Or whatever? At what temp do you cook the granola, and for how long? thanks...

              1. re: foxy fairy

                I use Quaker Old-Fashioned Rolled oats. After stirring the butter/honey mixture into the dry mixture I spread it out on a half-sheet pan, and cook in a 350 degree oven. Stir after ten minutes, cook another ten minutes and stir again, add wheat germ if desired and stir well, then cook another 5 or ten minutes until it seems all the oats and nuts are browned but not burned. Stir the dried fruits into the hot granola and let cool before storing.

                It's really simple and not much effort - you might need more than granola to fill your time on a rainy day!

                1. re: foxy fairy

                  Quick suggestion - before you let your final product cool, if you PRESS it, it will produce a more dense, clumpy, granola. I have two cookie pans that are the same size. Once my granola is out of the oven, and ready to cool, I stack the other pan on top of the pan with the granola, and press it very firmly. Timely thread, I went to whole foods last wknd, and bought a bunch of granola fixin to make a batch this wknd!

                  My ingredients for this batch:

                  Rolled, and steel cut oats
                  Wheat germ
                  Pumpkin seeds
                  sunflower seeds
                  Unsweetened banana chips (I'll crush them)
                  Vanilla Powder
                  Dried Dates