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I'm playing around with making cereal, and one of the cereals I want to replicate is the "bunches of oats" style, with crispy clusters that include oats. Every time I try to toast oats, though, they get more flavorful but not much more crispy, until they get burnt.

My current method: I use minute oats (problem #1?) but otherwise just put them in the oven at 350F.

I'd like to avoid adding sugars if possible, but I'm not stuck on that idea if it's not possible.

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    Everything I've eaten like this has had added sugar and/or fat. If you google "sugar-free granola recipe" you get lots of hits using honey or maple syrup - i.e. sugar). What are you currently using to stick them together? – Chris H Nov 6 '17 at 13:31
  • My main cereal involves toasted oats that are then tossed with natural peanut butter (then other add-ins like nuts etc). Like I said, I'm not against adding extra sugar, I'd just prefer not to if there is a way aroudn it – Michael Stachowsky Nov 6 '17 at 13:33
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    @MichaelStachowsky, I have been on the same venture for a couple of months now, using trial and error and trying as little sugar as possible. I have realized that the 'hipster' low sugar home made granolas I find in the farmers market rely on other ingredients than oat to bring crunchiness: loads of nuts, thin coconut slices, seeds, etc. But they always add a minimal ammount of sugar to bring things together. My personal conclusion is that I need 100g of honey for 400g of oats and 200g of seeds to get the bunches of oat effect. With +200g nuts it is about 9g sugar per 100g granola. – greedyscholars Nov 6 '17 at 13:49
  • @greedyscholars: thanks, I figured that it might be the case that you can't really get away from sugar in any of its forms – Michael Stachowsky Nov 6 '17 at 13:50
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    Minute or quick oats are definitely going to behave differently than "regular rolled oats" as they are basically already cooked, and usually rolled much thinner. So getting some real oats would be highly worthwhile. – Ecnerwal Nov 6 '17 at 17:46
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We have succeeded! The key was to use egg whites (for a vegan version, the liquid from a can of chickpeas works great):

2c. oats

1/4c egg white (or chickpea water)

(nuts and seeds if you want, but the oats will cluster and be crunchy without them)

2Tbsp peanut butter (nut butter of any kind would work, really)

Mix this all together well and lay it out on parchment in a baking sheet. Bake at 300F for about 40 minutes or so, until things get brown and crispy. Take it all out, put it into a bowl, and mix in spices. I like cinnamon, vanilla, and allspice. You'll need to let it sit (for some reason, honestly I don't know) for about a day in order for the spices to infuse into the granola, and you're golden.

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I use a a granola recipe to duplicate the "bunches of oats." It's not sugar-free, but the original cereal isn't sugar free either. Here's the recipe: http://cookieandkate.com/2015/healthy-granola-recipe/ If you follow that recipe without using any of the add-ins (fruit, nuts, etc.) you will end up with perfect oat bunches.

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