A few weeks ago, I made a recipe from Cooks Illustrated for Crunchy Almond Granola. Actually I made it twice, because I didn’t love it the first time and wanted to make sure I hadn’t left anything out. I hadn’t. It just didn’t have a lot of flavor, or any flavor! I mean let’s be honest, nobody likes plain oatmeal! So, if you like a flavorful granola … try this one.
Granola is so easy to make. Plus, it is adaptable to what you already have stocked in your pantry or what your taste preferences are. You can interchange nuts (almond, pecan, walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachios), dried fruits (cherries, apricots, coconut, raisins-GROSS), oils (canola, sunflower, vegetable) and spices (cinnamon, nutmeg). Gotta love a recipe like that!
Let’s get started!
Mise En Place - Preheat convection oven to 275.
2 1/2 c old-fashioned rolled oats. (I have used instant when I bought the wrong kind and didn’t notice a difference) * I just googled the differences and found that there aren’t’ any nutritional differences, just texture. (see more info here) Thanks Lance Armstrong for the info! I knew you were good for something besides those cute yellow bracelets!
- 1/2 t cinnamon
- 1/2 c almonds or pecans (rough chopped)
- 1/4 c shelled sunflower or pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 c grape nuts cereal
- 1/2 c unsweetened wheat germ (ground flax seeds)
- 1/4 c honey (maple syrup or agave)
- 1/4 c canola oil (sunflower is best)
- 2 T light brown sugar
- 1/2 c dried cherries (any dried fruit is fine)
- 1 t vanilla or almond extract (optional)
Place all of your ingredients into a bowl and stir with a big wooden spoon or a rubber spatula.
I love a recipe where all the ingredients can go into one big bowl … this is definitely kid friendly!
Line a baking sheet (aka cookie pan) with parchment paper. If you haven’t starting using parchment … run (don’t walk) to the grocery store and buy some! It is safe in the oven, up to 420 degrees and it will save you from washing the baking sheets etc!
I decide to try something with this batch of granola that I learned for the Cooks Illustrated recipe. I poured out the ingredients that were in the bowl onto the parchment lined baking sheet. I evenly spread out the granola, and then SMUSHED down with a spatula on just half of the granola. My goal here, like the Cooks Illustrated recipe was to have some large chunks of granola along with the traditional smaller bites. (It worked!)
Bake for 20 – 25 minutes. I rotate my baking sheet half way through, as most ovens (even high-end commercial) don’t offer consistent heat throughout. The granola should still retain its light color, the cherries will begin to get bigger and you will smell the cinnamon throughout your house. YUM! As it cools, it will continue to dry from the residual heat so don’t worry that it’s still looks a bit moist when it comes out of the oven. I fill up quart size freezer bags to store placing the extra bags in the freezer until I am ready to use or give away.
Enjoy your granola with some greek yogurt for breakfast. (Have you ever seen how much protein is in a 1/2 cup of greek yogurt? 13 grams+)
Then with all that energy, go HIT THE GYM! Oh yes, you can do it. If I am going … YOU can go!