Apple Pie Granola

by Sarah on January 12, 2012 · 9 comments

As I sprinkled the last of my bulk-purchased (and carried from Texas) apple pie spice into my coffee mug this morning, I couldn’t help but think back to all the happy times we’ve had together.**The apple pie spice, not the coffee mug. Although I’ve had a lot of happy times with that as well.

From numerous mugs of coffee that smelled just a little bit sweeter after being spiked with the faint hints of cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg…to more bowls of oatmeal than I can count.
From batch upon batch of roasted apples and/or grapes…
…to the Apple Pie Peanut Butter that I had to sweet-talk through airport security so that my dear friend Molly could keep it beside her desk at work. [Yes, this is an actual photo sent from her IPhone]
I’ll miss you, dear apple pie spice.
But not that much.

Because not only do I have three more (even tastier) Penzey’s tubs of apple pie spice left on my pillow by Stepmama Smart….it’s really easy to make your own.

And once you’ve got the goods to make apple pie spice…well, you might as well use it to make some granola.
Inspired by my first successful attempt at vegan granola, and the zeal with which Molly consumed the Apple Pie Peanut Butter (as evidenced by the photo sent to me just last night)–
–I thought I’d whip up a new granola creation using my favorite fall and winter spice blend.

Instead of adding amaranth for a nutty crunch, I turned to Mama Smart’s Coscto-sized bag of quinoa.

I’m not sure if quinoa has the same nutritional benefits dry as it does cooked, but at least we can be sure the ground flax seed was doing some health boosting.
You could mix the oats and whatnot now, which I did…but really only for photographic effect.

Because then you’ve got to add in your walnuts or pecans (or a combination thereof).

Since the granola makers in The Smart Kitchen* tend to believe oil-free is the way to be, applesauce adds the necessary wetness.^
*That would be, um, me.
^Not to be confused with necessary roughness…or unnecessary wetness (resulting in the need to change your pants and wash the sheets).
Which makes a lot of sense, as, well, this is apple pie granola, and the more chances to get apple in there, the better. (Duh!)
I was, tragically, working without my inherited magical granola pan…but any metal pan will suffice. (Not really, but I’m willing to pretend.)
While you’re gettin’ the granola groovin’ in the oven, dice up some dried apple rings for ‘finishing.’

Usually what happens is I get frustrated trying to cut apple rings and just pull them apart with my hands instead. Go ahead. I won’t tell on ya. [Although based on this picture, I actually spent a long time slicing these little rings of yum.]
Once you’ve cooked the granola to near-crisp perfection, stir in your dried apples and drizzle a bit of honey or agave nectar over the whole mess.

 It will crisp up a bit as it cools, and then be ready for nibbling, mixing in yogurt, sprinkling on your nighttime snack bowl of cereal, or mailing off to your December Blogger Pen Pal!
[I look at this label and think, “How did I ever think I wasn’t meant to be an elementary school teacher?]

Apple Pie Granola

3 cups rolled oats
2 tbsp. ground golden flax
1/3 quinoa
3 Tbsp. sucanat, demerara, or brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
3-4 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans)
6 Tbsp. unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup dried apples, chopped
1 Tbsp. agave nectar or honey (optional)

1. Combine oats, flax, quinoa, sugar, spices, and walnuts in large mixing bowl.
2. In separate small bowl, whisk together applesauce, water, and vanilla extract.
3. Pour applesauce mixture over the oat mixture. Stir well to coat.
4. Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees, stirring every 10-15 minutes.
5. Remove granola from the oven and mix in dried apples and agave nectar (if using).
6. Bake 5-10 more minutes and allow to cool (if you can) before eating!

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Lauren January 12, 2012 at 8:05 am

I love the addition of quinoa to this! I am so trying it out :)

Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean January 12, 2012 at 8:25 am

love the idea of adding quinoa for crunch! i made granola last night too!

atastelife January 12, 2012 at 8:52 am

apple pie. just the smell of it is the most comforting thing in the world.

Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table January 12, 2012 at 12:23 pm

OMG – I want to be your foodie pen pal. Quinoa is a brilliant addition – I love any way to work more protein in. You rock, my friend.

Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers January 12, 2012 at 12:50 pm

I want that. I don't want to make it myself (I'd probably burn it), but I want that!

teabagginit January 12, 2012 at 1:34 pm

hope you're not mad but i totally "pinned" this recipe just for the apple pie spice – i'm a sucker for spice blends! you can call it "apple pie masala" :)

Leila @ Spinach and Skittles January 14, 2012 at 8:50 pm

Thanks for the ingredients for apple pie spice – I've been looking all over for it, but haven't found any!

Tt in nyc January 14, 2012 at 11:05 pm

Sooo making this sunday! There is a great quinoa granola on that is to die for, but no apple pie spice in it! The quinoa is such a great fluffy crispy texture when baked!

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