From our perspective, of health and wellness and sanity - granola is problematic. Even from a good source, even made at home, traditional baked granola is loaded with sugar and fat. And yet, we find it so yummy and addictive that we can't stop munching if we've got it in the house! My first approach was to remove all fat except that used to coat the baking sheets - and use whipped egg whites instead of oil to mix and stick the granola together. I also cut the honey/maple syrup ratio way down. This made a granola that was high in protein(from the eggs whites) and low in sugar and fat, but that didn't stick together half as much as a recipe with more sticky oils and syrups. So when I transferred the finished product to jars, all of the healthy flax and sesame and sunflower seeds, as well as oat bran, whey powder and dried fruits pretty quickly fell to the bottom of the jar.
I recently came up with a strategy that solves all three problems: the addictiveness, the high calories and the lost seeds. Skillet granola! We LOVE this stuff. Of course, we love it too much. But the first beautiful thing about Skillet Granola is that since it whips up so quickly and doesn't require the profligate use of a stove running a long time on low heat, I just make enough for ourselves and our guests to have a reasonable serving and then it doesn't sit in the sparkly Ball jar calling out to us all day. The second beautiful thing about Skillet Granola is it doesn't actually require any fat or sugar beyond what is already in the ingredients - since it's actually more like muesli or toasted oats. Finally - this recipe can be tweaked to incorporate ingredients that you need to take for healthy reasons (like oat bran and flax seed to lower cholesterol, for instance, or maca powder for chronic fatigue) but don't really enjoy otherwise.
I created this particular recipe as a breakfast treat for a bed-and-breakfast guest concerned with lowering cholesterol - and it's got lots of the foods recommended to scrub out gummy arteries along with a terrific amount of soluble fiber. That's all BEFORE you put it on top of fiber-rich fruits and berries. This is a stellar meal or snack to lower LDL. cholesterol. A nice bonus for the chef - Skillet Granola is quick, easy and not messy. You'll notice I have no dried fruit in this version. Since I was sprinkling this granola over fresh fruit, it seems redundant. But if I was going with yogurt underneath, I would have added a tablespoon of raisins or chopped dates or apricots or dried blueberries.
CIRCLE M SKILLET GRANOLA
for each serving:
1/4 cup rolled oats
1 tablespoon of each:
unsweetened coconut flakes
vanilla whey protein powder sweetened with stevia, but no sugar
1 heaping teaspoon of each:
ground hemp seeds
pinch of sea salt
Spray a cast iron skillet very lightly with coconut or olive oil. Turn skillet on medium high. Sprinkle larger ingredients on the bottom of the skillet, then sprinkle powders and smaller ingredients over top. Spray again lightly with oil to stick powders lightly to larger ingredients. Allow oats and other large bits to get slightly browned before tossing the mixture around. As the heat releases the toasty smell, keep tossing and watching for when the mix is slightly browned. Allow to cool slightly in the skillet before scooping out with a large broad spoon and sprinkling over fruit or yogurt. This way you won't loose the small stuff!
If this isn't sweet enough to your taste, you can drizzle a little maple syrup or honey over the bowl when you serve.