Remember that Facebook food group I mentioned in a recent post? My friend Jess used it to share a recipe for granola that she'd recently tried, and as soon as I read it I knew I needed to try it, too. We used to make granola pretty regularly around here, but as is wont to happen, it somehow fell out of the rotation and we haven't made any in ages. *Rafiki voice* It was time.
I tried Jess's recipe with a few modifications, and it's a definite winner. Crispy, crunchy, chewy, not too sweet. I used both maple syrup and cinnamon, but it doesn't taste overmuch of either: it's just got a nice, pleasant Granola Flavor. Zach's been enjoying it in his yogurt, and I've been enjoying sneaking bites and baby fistfuls of it out of the ziploc bag and pretending the calories don't count. And, okay, it's also really good with almond milk, which I learned this morning when the day-after-you-go-back-to-rowing-again hangries set in. Granola: it's what's for Second Breakfast!
Much to my surprise, it stayed pretty crispy in the milk, though I did wolf it down with the speed of a raccoon who just saw a porch light come on while going through the garbage, so your mileage may vary.
The recipe is based on a Cook's Illustrated recipe for Almond Granola with Dried Fruit, to which there is no available link. The recipe below is with my modifications. Enjoy!
Granola So Good You Will Eat It With The Joy Of A Raccoon Swimming In A Trashcan, Not To Oversell It
⅓ cup maple syrup (the real stuff, you guys!)
⅓ cup packed (2 ⅓ ounces) light brown sugar
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
½ cup Light olive oil or coconut oil or avocado oil or vegetable oil or other oil of your choice
3 Tablespoons of water
5 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (Not quick cooking oats!)
2 cups (10 ounces) raw nuts (Your choice! See below.)
½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes, chopped (or the small already shredded ones, but I wanted to use up some bigger ones I had on hand.)
½ cup shelled hemp seeds (Optional. Throw in flax or anything else here, if you'd like.)
2 cups dried fruit, chopped (Your choice! See below.)
For the fruit and nuts I used pecans and cranberries, because that's what I had and what I like, but the possibilities are endless: dried cranberries, raisins, apricots, cherries, or a mix. Pecans, walnuts, pistachios, almonds, sunflower seeds, pepitas, you name it. One of the nice things about this recipe is how flexible it is. I added a bunch of stuff and it came out great. Be warned, though, that if you add more dry ingredients you might need to up the wet ingredients a bit too. Otherwise it might not clump properly, though it will still taste delicious.
CI says: "Chopping the almonds by hand is the first choice for superior texture and crunch. If you prefer not to hand chop, substitute an equal quantity of slivered or sliced almonds. (A food processor does a lousy job of chopping whole nuts evenly.) "
1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Whisk maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, water, and salt in large bowl. Whisk in oil. Fold in oats and nuts until thoroughly coated.
3. Transfer oat mixture to prepared baking sheet and spread across sheet into thin, even layer (about 3/8 inch thick). Using stiff metal spatula, compress oat mixture until very compact. Bake until lightly browned, 40 to 45 minutes, rotating pan once halfway through baking. Remove granola from oven and cool on wire rack to room temperature, about 1 hour. Break cooled granola into pieces of desired size. Stir in dried fruit. (Granola can be stored in airtight container for up to 2 weeks.)