Mix-n-Match Applesauce Granola

Wow, two granola recipes in one week? Well, the first batch was so wonderful I found myself craving more. But this time I thought I'd try something a little less festive since my last granola recipe called for pumpkin. It also might have to do with the fact that I don't enjoy making the same thing twice unless it's filed under NuM NuM, so of course I had to search the Internet for another recipe. This one was slightly different and tasted like a traditional granola. Although I must admit I did enjoy my last batch more - maybe because it reminded me of a pumpkin pie and who wouldn't want that for breakfast - but this was delicious as well. So if you're lookin' to switch up your morning routine from bacon and eggs, granola would be a great start.

Mix-n-Match Applesauce Granola
Recipe from Baking Bites
8 servings

3 1/2 cups rolled oats
2 cups puffed rice cereal (I used all oats)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup plain sweetened applesauce
1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
up to 1 1/2 cups chopped nuts
up to 1 cup dried fruit
nut suggestions: almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, cashews, macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds, etc
dried fruit suggestions: cranberries, raisins, apricots, cherries, blueberries, raspberries, etc.

Preheat the oven to 325F and line a large baking sheet (or two smaller sheets) with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine oats, puffed rice cereal, and spices. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, applesauce (do not use chunky applesauce), maple syrup and vanilla. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients along with chopped nuts and stir to combine. Spread on prepared baking sheet(s) in an even layer.
Bake for 30 minutes in center of oven, then turn over the granola carefully using a large wide spatula, and bake for additional 10-15 minutes, until crisp and golden. Depending on the size of your baking sheet, the center might not be fully dried if your granola layer is thick, so if necessary remove the edges of the cooked granola to a cooling rack and let the rest cook for another 10-15 minutes until done.
Cool on pan or on a wire rack.
Break granola up as desired and stir in dried fruit. Store in an airtight container. If you put it in the fridge it will last longer.