Vanilla Cinnamon Granola

Ah, spring. Sunny skies and reading books in the yard are definitely in my near future. Although, given Montana’s weather snow could possibly (probably) be in my near future as well, but I like to focus on the positive.

Vanilla Cinnamon Granola {{Baking Bytes}}

In the warmer months I often start my days with yogurt and granola instead of hot oatmeal. High protein and filling, with fresh fruit for color and flavor, it’s always makes for a pleasant morning. However, given the high sugar content of most yogurt and granola, it can easily turn into more of a dessert than a healthy breakfast. I’ve solved the yogurt problem by buying the plain kind and adding a small dollop of homemade jam, which takes those sugar grams down to a much more reasonable level without sacrificing flavor, since I don’t particularly care for the taste of unflavored yogurt.

Vanilla Cinnamon Granola {{Baking Bytes}}

However, after trying and failing (and trying and failing, and trying and failing) to find a granola with more grams of protein than sugar in each serving, I decided I should probably just make my own. Unfortunately, even most of the online recipes add a bunch of sugar!

Vanilla Cinnamon Granola {{Baking Bytes}}

(By the way, does it annoy anyone else when a recipe is touted as being sugar-free and then adds honey? This drives me insane. Honey is still sugar, people.)

I eventually found a recipe that legitimately doesn’t add any sugar, modified it slightly to fit my preferences (not a fan of cashews), and made a batch to try. It turned out pretty close to what I was looking for on the first attempt, which is always extra fantastic when trying new recipes. I later used inspiration from a very delicious but much more sugary recipe and took the best of both worlds to meet my needs.

Vanilla Cinnamon Granola {{Baking Bytes}}

Crunchy, nutty, and full of great cinnamon flavor, this recipe is easy to tailor to suit your tastes and needs, or just to mix it up a little with every batch. I used almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, and quinoa but you can certainly use any nuts or seeds of your choice, just try to keep it between 1.5 and 2 cups total. I think macadamia nuts would be fantastic, as well as pumpkin seeds. If you like dried fruits or chocolate in your granola, definitely add some (after it’s completely cooled!), just bear in mind this can quickly increase the sugar content. Additionally, if you’re not sold on the no-sugar-added idea, throw some honey or brown sugar in there too.

Vanilla Cinnamon Granola {{Baking Bytes}}

Vanilla Cinnamon Granola

Inspired by Super Healthy Kids and Pastry Affair
Makes 4+ cups

Ingredients

4 egg whites
1 Tablespoon vanilla
up to 1/2 cup packed brown sugar or honey (optional)1

2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup chopped raw almonds
1/2 cup chopped raw walnuts
1/4 cup hulled sunflower seeds
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 Tablespoon cinnamon2

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line an edged baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Add egg whites to a large bowl and whip with an electric mixer until fluffy and opaque.
  3. Stir in vanilla and sugar (if using).
  4. Add oatmeal, nuts, seeds, quinoa, and cinnamon and stir until mixture is completely combined and moistened.
  5. Spread evenly on prepared baking sheet, ideally not more than 1/4″ thick.
  6. Bake for about 25 minutes, until granola is golden and crisp. If you like a loose granola, stir it every 10 minutes or so.
  7. Let cool completely on the counter, then break into pieces and store in an airtight container.

Notes

I used no sugar since that’s what I was looking for. As a topping on yogurt or fruit, I don’t miss it a bit, but it does results in a somewhat less chunky granola in the end. If you like it to stay in larger pieces, add 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar; if you eat it more as a cereal and/or are looking for a traditional flavor, I would add about 1/4 cup packed. If you are adding 1/4 cup or more of sugar, you can probably omit half the egg white, or all of it to maintain a looser granola.

If this seems like an absurd amount of cinnamon, feel free to cut it in half. It’s way easier to add more than it is to take it away.

Energizing Oatmeal Blueberry Muffins

What? Two healthy recipes in a row? The end is near! Just kidding. I’ve had this one in the backlog awhile but never got around to writing the post. I promise to bring you a proper amount of sugar next week. (Possibly too much, but that’s up to you.)

Energizing Oatmeal Blueberry Muffins {{Baking Bytes}}

These muffins make an amazing breakfast or snack, and are awesome for pre- or post-run energy. Nice and filling but very flavorful, these are a slightly  healthier alternative to a prepackaged granola bar. They are dense, packed with blueberries, and stick with you. A subtle oatmeal flavor steps them up a notch from your usual blueberry muffin recipe and Greek yogurt adds a little extra protein.

Energizing Oatmeal Blueberry Muffins {{Baking Bytes}}

My new go-to recipe for blueberry muffins has been changed to this one for their amazing flavor, texture, and fillingness. (That’s a technical term.) Warmed and spread with butter, these are delicious all week long (if you haven’t eaten them all before then) any time of the day. Round them out with some scrambled eggs and a cup of coffee and you have an easy breakfast for any day of the week.

Energizing Oatmeal Blueberry Muffins {{Baking Bytes}}

Oatmeal Blueberry Muffins

Adapted from Finger Prickin’ Good
Makes about 15 muffins

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose (can substitute up to 1/2 cup with whole wheat flour)
1 cup oats
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups honey nonfat Greek yogurt (I like Greek Gods)
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (if frozen, run under hot water to thaw)
1 Tbsp flour

Directions

  1. Preheat over to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and lightly grease a muffin tin.
  2. If desired, use a blender or food processor to reduce the size of the oats.
  3. Whisk together flour(s), oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl until completely combined.
  4. In another bowl, lightly beat eggs, yogurt, butter, and vanilla.
  5. Add wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir until just combined.
  6. Toss blueberries with remaining flour, then gently fold into the muffin batter.
  7. Fill each muffin well with 4-5 Tbsp batter, and bake 20-25 minutes. Tops should be lightly browned and a toothpick should come out clean.
  8. Cool in the pan for a few minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely (or serve them still warm!)