Tastes as good as top brands, but it's without sugar, added oils or gluten! Try Easy Me Baked Granola. You'll like it!!
We Love Granola but Hate the Added Sugar & Oils
At my house, we love granola. We like it on top of a yogurt sundae I make (future snack post), as a breakfast cereal with almond milk, and as a snack at night. Our dogs also beg us for it when we eat it. 🙂
So, I'm regularly scouring grocery store shelves and online for organic granola without added sugar or oil. Unfortunately, if I can find granola without those ingredients, then it's very expensive. But, I usually make a concession and buy granola that's either not organic or has a little added sugar.
As I was working on a list of Christmas candies and snacks to make for my friend Timmy who has diabetes, it occured to me that I could probably easily come up with a recipe for granola. So, I began looking for recipes from my favorite cookbooks and / or blog sites.
They often don't have the sweeteners I prefer, but they at least are gluten free and use food combining. I tried several of those recipes, and I was so unimpressed. I'm hoping the birds will eat flavored browned oats. Sigh.
If you want to know more about why I use monk fruit powder as a sugar replacement in this recipe, then check out my post For the Love of Sugar: Addiction and Natural Substitutes.
Stop Being Lazy! Make It from Scratch
As a result, it was time to come up with my own recipe from scratch with no base for inspiration. It's only a week before Christmas, and I don't have my shopping even halfway finished. Plus, I can be a little lazy. However, if I couldn't find a recipe, then I'd need to make one myself. Sigh again.
I pulled out a box of granola Beck likes and buys which has way too much sugar for my tastes, Cascadian Farm Organic. After that, I scooped out a handful of granola and actually looked at it. As I suspected, it didn't just have oats and fruit and nuts. In addition, it had some type of grain other than oats that made the oats stick together and made crunchy balls.
Hummm, I thought. I bet I can make this with some Me Alternative Baking Mix and a few other ingredients. Yep, I can whip this up easy peasy. So I did.
I got it on the first try. Happy dance! I'm so proud of myself. I do think I overcooked it a little, but that didn't stop Beck from wiping out my first batch when I asked him to taste test it.
About That Taste Test
Beck walked in the door from work and said, "Boy, it really does smell good in here!" Hooray! Added benefit. This granola makes your house smell like cinnamon heaven.
Meanwhile, I walked over to him and held out the bowl of granola. "Here try this. Tell me what you think about it," I commanded.
After that, Beck stuck his hand into the bowl and took a small, as in very small, amount and tasted it. "So, what'd you do? Just pour it out of the box and put it in the oven?" he asked after tasting.
"Pour it out of the box! Are you kidding! That's the great smell in the house. I made that from scratch. I call it Easy Me Baked Granola."
"Well, it's very good. It tastes just like the sugar one," he said, unfazed by my adamant response as he reached for the bowl again. "I need some more to make sure I like it."
"No!" I responded as I moved the bowl away from his hand. "I've got to take pictures of it. Then, you can eat it all." Consequently, I did, and he did.
Easy Me Baked Granola with Nine Varieties
All you do to make this granola is take the Me Alternative Baking Mix, throw in some cinnamon, add a little salt, and some monk fruit powder. After that, you add some almond milk and vanilla until you get those little balls I mentioned. Then, you add in the old fashioned oats and mix it up again. Next, you add some more almond milk to make the ball mix stick to the oats. Finally, you spread it out on a baking pan and bake it for 10-14 minutes.
Determining when the granola is done is the tricky part. For instance, I found after making several batches that the best way to determine doneness is to look at the granola. Optimally, it should be golden brown. After that if it is, take one of the balls and taste it. If it crunches like you expect granola to crunch, then it's done.
If it doesn't have enough crunch, then put it back in the oven for several minutes. You have to be very careful at this stage. Most importantly, there's a very short window between golden brown granola with enough crunch and dark brown over-cooked granola. I know because my first batch was very close to the overcooked side of the window.
After that, you add in whatever extra ingredients you want. I put apple juice sweetened dried cranberries in the taste test offering for Beck.
If you're following Balanced Eating or Thin Healthy Mama, then you definitely want to use low fat add-ins. You can also switch up the spices to change the flavors.
Nine Varieties of Goodness for Easy Me Baked Granola
Here are some suggestions, and you can bet I'm going to be making these really soon:
- Tropical granola: Use the basic recipe with cinnamon. After it's cooled, add in a little unsweetened coconut, chopped dried mango and/or dried pineapple. To make it fancy, add in a very few chopped macadamia nuts.
- Pumpkin pie granola: Use the basic recipe, but change the spice to pumpkin pie spice. Add a little chopped nuts like pecans.
- Apple pie granola: Use the basic recipe, but change the spice to apple pie spice. After it's cooled, add unsweetened dried apple pieces and a few organic raisins.
- Chocolate spice granola (Beck asked for this one): Use the basic recipe with cinnamon. After it's cooled, add in a little cayenne and sugar free mini chocolate chips or a piece of sugar-free dark chocolate chopped up.
- Mounds granola: Use the basic recipe with cinnamon. After it's cooled, add in a little unsweetened shredded coconut, a few chopped almonds, and chopped sugar free chocolate. You'll have to go light on the almonds and chocolate for sure. Coconut has more fiber to offset the carbs in it.
- Chocolate lovers granola: Use the basic recipe with cinnamon. Add in a teaspoon or two (depending on how chocolatey you want it) of unsweetened cacao or cocoa powder. You can also add a few sugar-free chocolate chips after the granola cools.
- Very Berry: Use the basic recipe with cinnamon. After it's cooled, add in your favorite dried or freeze dried berries. I like raspberries and strawberries.
- Raisny: Use the basic recipe with cinnamon. After it's cooled, add in organic raisins.
- Cranberry Coconut: Use the basic recipe with cinnamon. After it's cooled, add in fruit juice sweetened dried cranberries and shredded coconut.
Hey, these are just my ideas. I'm sure you can come up with a couple hundred more. Pick your favorite tastes and add them in!
Make It a Meal (or Snack)
This recipe is high in carbohydrates, low in fat. As a result, it's a no-no for keto diets. I thought of a great keto recipe while I was working on this one. So, I added it to my create a new recipe list.
For those who food combine using diet plans like Thin Healthy Mama, Easy Me Baked Granola is a THM-E and is low in protein. So for example, if you're having it for breakfast, just add a low carbohydrate milk, like almond milk, along with additional protein mixed in, like whey or collagen.
This recipe is great to double or triple and make larger amounts. I like to store it in the freezer to keep it crisp if we're not going to eat it within a day or two. You really have to make a larger amount to have it on hand and ready to use because it's easy to wipe this out in two servings. 🙂
For example, it's great to have on hand when you want to add something crispy to a high carb / low fat salad or a snack that just needs a little crunch.
Please Let Me Know How You Like It
So, what do you think about the recipe? Have you tried it? (You can also use substitutes for the Me Alternative Baking Mix if you haven't made it yet. Check the recipe notes. Don't let that stop you from trying this easy granola recipe.)
Let everybody else know what great add-ins you came up with for Easy Me Baked Granola. I'm sure there are a thousand I haven't thought of that would be great.
Easy Me Baked Granola
- Baking sheet
- 1/2 c Me Alternative Baking Mix or see Notes for other option
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- monk fruit powder to taste
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 4 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 c organic old fashioned oats
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- In a bowl, mix together the baking mix, cinnamon, and salt. Add monk fruit powder until it tastes very sweet. Then, mix in half the almond milk and the vanilla until the mixture forms little balls.
- Mix in the oats until evenly distributed. Don't over mix. You still want little balls.
- Mix in the remaining almond milk. Don't over mix. You still want little balls. (Adding the almond milk at this stage will help the baking mix mixture adhere to the oats a little.)
- Spread on baking sheet. (I cover my sheet with aluminum foil for easy clean up.)
- Bake in 400 degree F oven for around 12 minutes. Begin checking the mix at 10 minutes. You want the oats to be light brown and the little balls of baking mixture to be crunchy. Baking time will vary based on oven temperature calibration.
- Remove from oven and cool on baking sheet.
- Pour into a storage container and add in whatever else you want. (See the suggestions in the post.)
- If you don't have Me Alternative Baking Mix on hand, you can try substituting 2 tbsp + 2 tsp each almond flour, coconut flour, and oat fiber. I haven't tested it, but this substitution usually works. You may need a little more almond milk.
- I store Easy Me Granola in an air-tight container in the freezer if we're not eating it within a day or two. This is to keep it crunchy more than anything else.
- You can multiply each ingredient in the recipe to make a larger batch of granola. Baking time shouldn't vary much unless you really have your oven filled.
- Monk fruit powder is listed to taste because I've noticed it takes a little more to get the same sweet taste after you've used it for awhile.
- You can substitute another sweetener, but I don't recommend it. Monk fruit powder is the best sugar substitute available.
Nutrition*: Total Fat: 3.6g, Total Carbohydrates: 33.4g, Dietary Fiber: 8.2g, Net Carbohydrates: 25.2g, Protein: 7.2g
*For single serving with standard choices without any add-ins.