Whether you eat your granola plain by the handful, douse it with milk, or spoon it into yogurt, good granola can be difficult to come by. Luckily, good granola, with its slightly sweet crunchy clusters and any kind of nuts and fruits you like, is surprisingly easy to make. It takes a matter of minutes to get this into the oven, and in as much time as it would take to get to the store and back, you can have fresh, crunchy granola customized to your own taste. We love the original recipe (below) but also like to throw in some dried cranberries and pecans, and maybe a handful of mini chocolate chips if it's a chocolate kind of day.
Almond Granola with Dried Fruit
adapted from Cooks Illustrated March/April 2012
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
4 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
5 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups slivered almonds, coarse chopped
2 cup dried fruit, chopped
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or spray with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together maple syrup, brown sugar, salt, vegetable oil and vanilla. Fold in oats and almonds until thoroughly coated.
3. Transfer oats mixture to prepared pan and spread across the sheet into a thin even layer. Using a stiff metal spatula, compress oat mixture until very compact. Bake until lightly browned, 40 to 45 minutes.
When it is cool, break into large chunks or small clusters, gently stir in dried fruit and store in an airtight container.