Homemade Hazelnut Granola

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This is my favorite granola recipe to make and although it has some sugar,  it doesn't have any oil or fat (besides the nuts).  I could never find one recipe I liked unconditionally so I adapted this from a couple different Bon Appetit recipes and now I call it my own.

Ingredients:

 

1/3 cup agave (if you don't have agave, use honey or sugar free syrup)
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3 cups steel-cut or old-fashioned rolled oats (for the difference in nutritional content click here) (don't use quick oats!)
1/4 cup pepitas* (shelled pumpkin seeds)
1/2 tbsp flax seed
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp  ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup chopped hazelnuts (or walnuts, almonds, pecans)
2 large egg whites
1 cup dried cranberries (or any other dried fruit you like)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Heat a small saucepan over low heat and measure out your agave and brown sugar.  Add both to the pan and stir or whisk well until both are incorporated completely. Remove from the heat and let cool (stir every once in awhile to make sure it all stays together).

Measure out a cup of hazelnuts (I love hazelnuts, but if you want to be a superfood superstar, use walnuts).  To chop your nuts you can either spread them out on a cutting board and chop by hand with a large knife -- or put them in a large plastic Ziploc bag and bash with a mallet until the nuts are busted up to the size you like.  I like to chop the nuts myself because I like them rather chunky, but do what you prefer.

Once you have about a cup of chopped nuts add them to a large bowl.  Measure out your other dry ingredients (the oats, salt, flax and pumpkin seeds, ginger and cinnamon) and add to the bowl and stir well.

Over a small bowl crack your eggs and separate the whites into the bowl (and the yolks into the sink, unless you want to use them for something else then put them into their own bowl).  If you need guidance on how to separate an egg, go here or here.

Once your agave/sugar concoction is relatively cool, add the egg whites and stir together well.  Then add that mixture to the large bowl of dry ingredients and stir to make sure everything is coated evenly.

Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray (or line with parchment paper).  Spread the granola mixture to the pan and spread out evenly with a spatula or spatula.  Bake in your 300 degree oven for 40 minutes (stir every 10 minutes).

After 40 minutes, turn off your oven.  Add the dried cranberries and stir again.  Put the pan back into the oven for another 10 minutes.  Then remove from the oven for good and set on a wire rack to cool completely.

Once cool, store the granola in an airtight container.  Enjoy with some milk, over yogurt or just plain as a snack!

 

* I forgot to add the pepitas when I was taking these photos.  The granola will be good either way but if you like nuts, go ahead and add them for extra nutrients!