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I’ve always loved granola so much that I often just eat it on it’s own. What’s not to love right, seeds and nuts covered in oil and sugar? I must confess that until my friend pointed out that she generally avoided it due to the significant amounts of sugar, I’d never really realised quite how much sweetener goes into conventional granola. I’ve always made my granola by slathering it in copious amounts of brown sugar (you know, the healthy sugar), honey and maple syrup. But my friend was quite right – granola shouldn’t be considered a healthy option unless you know what’s in it. Conventional granola has almost as much sugar as Coke – just take a look at the nutrition label next time you’re at the supermarket. 

Now, you know I’m all about butter and sugar where it counts, and I don’t even look at skim milk – but do you really need that much sugar in your breakfast? My version of a sugar free granola uses applesauce and cinnamon so it tastes a bit like apple pie. And if you must (like me) add some form of sugar use a tiny amount of unrefined sugar like honey, rice malt syrup or maple syrup – but you don’t have to use any at all. The trade off for a low, or no-sugar granola is that you’ll have to bake it at a low temperature for longer, because there’s less sugar to caramelise. Add dried fruit if you’d like, I personally like to add finely chopped ‘naked’ (uncrystallised) ginger. 

On a normal day I’d eat this plain or with yoghurt but if you’re looking to get a bit fancier for a formal brunch, chuck some yoghurt and a large dollop of whipping cream into your profi whip and carbonate it with a CO2 canister. It makes a slightly fizzy yoghurt that’s a bit grown up.

If you don’t plan to eat it all, as you can see, they make great gifts. Jars are $0.95  from Pack My Product (round 150ml), and the wooden dessert spoons are from ShopBasics in Fyshwick.

Sugar Free Granola
adapted from David Lebovitz

4 cups (about 500g) of your favourite granola ingredients – rolled oats, sunflower seeds, pepitas, sliced almonds, shredded coconut, sesame seeds, chia seeds, flaxseed, etc
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
⅓ tsp salt
⅓ cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tbsp rice bran oil, or similar
2 tbsp honey, rice malt syrup or maple syrup (optional)
75g dried fruit, currants, raisins or chopped crystallised ginger (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 120C.
  2. In a bowl, mix your dry granola ingredients, cinnamon, ground ginger and salt.
  3. Add applesauce, oil and sweetener (if using) and using your hands, mix through so everything is coated.
  4. Bake on a tray covered in parchment paper for approx 90 minutes or until light golden brown, making sure to stir every 20-30 minutes as the outer edges will cook faster than the middle.
  5. Allow to cool on the tray, then add dried fruit (if using). Store in an airtight container.