Ever since I tried the pumpkin granola recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod (thanks to Marisa’s link) I’ve been thinking more about the potential for using fruit purées, sauces and butters in granola. The concept of replacing oil with fruit purée is not a new one: applesauce, prunes and dates are common replacements for oil in many a quickbread. I just had not thought to apply this method to granola; I’m so glad that Maria & Josh over at Two Peas did! Since that original pumpkin batch, I’ve made granola with pear butter (with almonds & home-dried pears) and apple butter (with walnuts & home-dried Mutsu apples). Today’s batch included about 1/4-cup of pumpkin purée (leftover from pumpkin gnocchi), 1/4-cup of applesauce (leftover pulp from apple quince jelly) and 1/4-cup of apple butter (the last of the jar, squeee!).
Here’s the nice thing: using the pumpkin granola recipe as a template, you can essentially use any fruit butter or thick fruit sauce, in any combination yielding 3/4 of a cup. Even then, if you are a bit short of 3/4 of a cup, you can make up the balance with vegetable oil, so this technique is eminently suited to using up those last stubborn bits in the fridge that aren’t quite enough for a standard recipe. Tailor your granola to the fruit butter you have on hand. Got blueberry butter? Add dried blueberries and walnuts. Spiced peach butter? Try dried nectarines and almonds. Mango butter? Go for a tropical flavor with dried papaya, coconut, crystallized ginger and macadamia nuts. Since fruit butters already contain some sugar and spices, you may want to dial down the amounts in the ‘template’ recipe: I cut the brown sugar in half in this batch, and eliminated it altogether with the apple butter batch. Adjust the recipe to your taste and the sweetness or flavor of your fruit butter.
In addition to the fruit butter, if you have preserved fruit in syrup and have leftover syrup to use, you can replace the 1/4 cup of maple syrup called for in the recipe with any fruit syrup: simply tailor the flavor of your granola batch to the flavor of your butter and/or syrup. If you use a light syrup, you may need to cook the granola a bit longer (or bake on convection, if you have it, to help crisp the granola) at a lower temperature in order to cook off the extra moisture. Or, if you have a loose-set jam or a Ferber-style preserve, you can use that as well, in place of the pumpkin or fruit butter: just hit it with the immersion blender or food processor first, to make smooth, then proceed with the recipe.
Ditch the toast for breakfast and have your fruit butter (or jam!) with granola instead!