Fruit and Nut Granola

July 006

As my faithful readers know, I typically post recipes for my favorite meal: Dessert. I rarely follow recipes for lunch and dinner and am not really a ‘breakfast person’ unless you count Peanut Butter oatmeal or cereal (no need to post a recipe). I really never eat breakfast unless I know I won’t get lunch until late in the day but am rarely hungry before heading to work. I have been looking for something transportable that I could snack on at my leisure to tide me over until lunch but that was not terribly unhealthy for me.  I decided to try my hand at granola and let me tell ya, it is addicting. I have been eating this for breakfast, snacks and desserts for a week now and have no intention on quiting anytime soon. I am an addict.

After searching through several granola recipes on the internet and in cookbooks, I decided to make up my own. The great thing about granola is that the recipe itself is so versitile and addaptable based on your tastes or ingredients on hand you really can’t mess it up. This is the recipe to which I am currently addicted. It is cruchy, has a nice balance of salty/sweet flavor which is complimented and deepened by the toasted nuts.

Granola can be a healthy snack but packaged granola can contain more than its fair share of sodium, fats and sugars (and can be very pricey!!). The thing I love about making this treat at home is that it is very inexpensive and  you can control the oil, sodium and sugars that you include (as well as the nuts, fruits and other goodies).  You can even make this recipe more healthy by adding a few TBS of wheat germ or flaxseed to the oat/nut mixture before baking.  Relatively speaking, this granola is fairly low in sugars (watch out for natural sugars in the dried fruit) and fat (depending on how many nuts and coconut you add).

I have eaten this for breakfast with vanilla or strawberry yogurt, with milk or on fresh fruit (I love raspberries, strawberries and blueberries). I enjoy this as a crunchy topping for ice cream, frozen yogurt or on warm pie filling (kind of like a crisp). Let’s face it, I have also eaten this plain by the bowl-full. SO good. I just can’t get enough.

Feel free to adjust the spices, nuts and fruit to suit your tastes. I have tried several different juices and really like either Cranberry Apple or Cranberry Raspberry. They provide a subtle base flavor to the granola that does not overpower the other flavors and adds that extra dimention of flavor that a milder juice (apple) would not. I would not use a heavily flavored juice as its flavors may compete with the overal taste of the granola in my opinion, (I did NOT like Tropical fruit juice, too acidic and overpowering).

You just can’t beat the flavor of toasted nuts, oatmeal, honey and fruit. The smell alone will draw you in and before you know it the flavor and crunch keeps you coming back for ‘just a little more’ until the whole batch is gone.

I look forward to adapting this recipe many more times.  I may add some white chocolate chips to the granola after it cools to add another flavor dimension. I may keep adapting this recipe as I am excited to incorporate peanut butter in my next batch and leave out the fruit.

I rate this recipe an 8.5

Tropical Granola
Mix together in a large bowl:
2 cups old fashioned oats (not quick cooking)
1/3 cup slivered almonds
1/3 cup coconut
1/3 cup pecan halves
In a small saucepan (if heating on stove) or Glass measuring cup (if heating in microwave) combine the following ingredients:
1/3 cup Welch’s frozen Passion Fruit Juice Concentrate (thawed)
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
½ tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ground ginger
Bring ingredients to a boil. Whisk till sugar is dissolved.
Pour syrup over dry ingredients. Stir to coats. Spread on baking sheet that has been sprayed with quick release spray.
Bake 20minutes at 350 degrees. At the end of the twenty minutes stir in the following ingredients:
1 cup dried diced pineapple
1 cup dried diced mango
1 cup dried sliced banana chips (I used unsweetened)
Bake another 10 minutes till ingredients are dry. But watch carefully it can over brown quickly.
Cool on the baking sheet. When completely cool store in tightly covered tin.
Serve with plain or vanilla non-fat yogurt.
Fruit and Nut Granola
by bakingblonde
In a large bowl mix:
2 cups old fashioned oats (not quick cooking)
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/3 cup pecan pieces
1/3 cup flaked coconut
In a medium bowl combine
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup dried pineapple
1/2 cup dried blueberries
1/2 cup dried mango
In a small saucepan combine the following ingredients:
1/3 cup Welch’s frozen CranApple or CranRaspberry Juice (thawed)
2 TBS canola or vegetable oil
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 TBS honey
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
*salt (optional, I like to sprinkle a bit over the top before baking)
Preheat oven to 350.
Line a large baking sheet with foil sprayed with PAM. July 003
Bring the above ingredients to a boi, wisking constantly until all sugar is dissolved.  Carefully, pour hot syrup over dry ingredients. Gently stir to coat.
Evenly spread on prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt if desired.
Bake for 20 minutes, stirring well after 10 mintues.
At the end of the twenty minutes stir in the dried fruits.
Bake an additional 10 minutes, stirring well after 5 mintues for even baking. Bake in 5 minute increments (stirring after every 5) until ingredients are toasted and almost dry. Watch carefully it can burn quickly!
Allow to cool completely on baking sheet. Store in airtight container.

Mini White Chocolate Cranberry Oat Fudge Cups


Everywhere I look lately there seem to be recipes involving cranberries, this is one that caught my eye! I rarely bake anything involving fruit, not that I have anything against fruit (it is one of my favorite snacks), it just seems that most recipes that catch my eye involve chocolate, peanut butter, butter scotch or candy.

I am deciding what to make for goodie trays I will be making for the Holidays and thought that a recipe using cranberries would be perfect. I wanted something different from your typical cookie or bar recipe and hit the jackpot when this recipe caught my eye.

I changed the recipe a bit based on my preferences. The original recipe is baked in a muffin tin but because I am making these for holiday trays I used a mini muffin tin to make them bite sized (Plus I LOVE how cute they look). I also used finely chopped walnuts instead of pecans because I think their flavor better compliments the cranberries. I partially baked the oatmeal crusts before filling them with the white chocolate fudge but then baked the filled Fudge Cups for a few more minutes. The original recipe did not call for baking the cups after they are filled, so if you’re short on time you can always save a few minutes by not baking them after filling with the white chocolate fudge.  I am not sure what difference it will make in the final consistency of the white chocolate fudge, I chose to bake them because the filling is siimilar to the filing in this recipe in which you bake the fudge filled bars.
*I would recommend bakinnovember-006g the crusts for 2-4 more minutes before filling if you are not planning on baking the cups once you fill them.

I am very pleased with the end result! They are so cute and the specks of red cranberry in the crust make them perfect for the holidays.  The crust is slighlty sweet, with a hint of cinnamon and has a delicate nutty flavor which compliments the sweet and creamy white chocolate fudge filling. They are not overly sweet, but definately will satisfy your holiday sweet tooth. I think you could dress these up a bit after baking by garnishing with a dried cranberry or walnut halve on top and then drizzled with melted white chocolate. As is, they are definitely going to be a welcomed addition to my holiday goodie tray!

I rate this recipe an 8.5

Mini White Chocolate Cranberry Oat Fudge Cups
adapted from here
1 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 cups oatmeal (I used quick cooking)
1 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup dried cranberries, chopped fine
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped fine

White Chocolate Fudge Filling
2 cups chopped white chocolate
1 can Sweet and Condensed Milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°.
Spray a mini muffin tin with PAM cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, beat together the butter and brown sugar until creamy. Add the oatmeal, flour, salt, and cinnamon. Mix until combined. Add chopped cranberries and walnuts and mix until incorporated. november-007

Drop dough by tablespoon into the preapred wells of a mini muffin tin. Using a tart press or the back of a teaspoons press down on the crust mixture until the crust is formed into a small well.
Bake for 5-6 minutes.

While crusts are baking make the White Chocolate Fudge Filling:
In a small sauce pan over low heat, heat milk and chips until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and add vanilla extract.

Remove the partially baked crusts from oven (should not be brown). If needed, gently use the tart press or the back of a teaspoon to press the crust down to form a well (crust may puff a bit while baking making it difficult to fill the wells unless you press the crust down a bit).
Fill each mini crust with a teaspoon of White Chocolate Fudge being careful not to get any on the mini muffin tin or it will burn.
Return to oven and bake for another 3-4 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to cool at room teperature.
Chill for 20 minutes or until firm.
Using a sharp knife, gently pry the Fudge Cups out of the tin. They should pop out if you greased it properly and the cups are firm. (I had no problem getting them out at all)