Making granola has not been a top priority of mine. There are so many brands and varieties to choose from, it never seemed worth the effort to make my own until I watched an episode on granola from America’s Test Kitchen (remember, I’m a cooking nerd). So I gathered the ingredients (oats, brown sugar, maple syrup, canola oil, walnuts), all of which were already in my pantry. I’m sure most of us have everything we need to make granola, but we never do. It’s super easy. It took 5 minutes to mix the ingredients together and spread it on a baking sheet. I baked the granola for about 30-35 minutes and the house smelled wonderful. That in itself made it worth it!
Making your own granola gives you control over the ingredients. This recipe contains less added sugar than most store-bought granola and to boost the protein, I substituted almond butter for half of the oil. Making granola at home is a fun cooking project for kids. They can mix and match their favorite ingredients (chocolate chips, peanuts, coconut, dried fruit). Granola is a fast, energy packed back to school breakfast or a grab and go snack.
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
- 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 5 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 2 cups raw almonds or walnuts (or both), chopped coarse
- 2 cups dried fruit (optional)
Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk in oil. Fold in oats and nuts until thoroughly coated. Transfer oat mixture to prepared baking sheet and spread into a thin, even layer. Compress with spatula until very compact. Bake until lightly browned, about 25-30 minutes, rotating pan once halfway through baking. Cool pan on wire rack, about an hour. Break granola into pieces. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Note: If adding dried fruit, like raisins, you can add them before or after baking the granola. Adding them before you bake the granola will make the raisins more dense and chewy. Adding them after baking will keep the raisins more plump and soft. Use raw nuts because they will toast during the baking process and I suggest using parchment paper to line the baking sheet. The parchment paper helps to prevent the granola from sticking to pan.
Nutrition Note: For breakfast, the serving size for granola is 1/2 cup with fat-free milk or for a parfait layered with plain, low fat Greek yogurt and berries. For a snack, use 1/4 cup.
Recipe can be found at Epicurious.com