Homemade Holiday Gift: Maple Almond Granola
December 5, 2011 § 7 Comments
It’s no secret that I’m completely obsessed with granola. I can’t get enough of the stuff, and I never tire of making it. But a few weeks back I became set on perfecting my granola recipe. All the recipes I had previously shared were delicious, but they just weren’t clustering the way I wanted them to. Yes- clustering. The oats and nuts weren’t creating those clusters that make granola so irresistible! These clumps are always in store bought granola, but why not homemade? I was determined to find out why that was the case, so I did some research and got to work. Six batches later, I’d say I’m pretty close to perfection! My new and improved method makes huge granola clusters, and I have to say- it’s some of the best granola I’ve ever had.
As luck would have it, I’ve hit my granola stride just in time for the holiday season. I took that as a sign that it should be this year’s homemade gift, so I picked up some supplies this weekend. Gift bags, ribbon, and a few festive labels are all that’s needed to transform my breakfast staple into wonderful gifts for family and friends.
Channeling Contessa Granola Formula
I credit my new granola formula to Melissa Clark’s granola recipe, and some helpful tips from the kitchn. This recipe makes a total of 6 1/2 cups of granola, enough for 3 generous holiday gifts or several breakfast meals at home. Also, this granola is definitely sweet, but not super sweet. If you like it really sweet add a bit more maple syrup or brown sugar. Enjoy!
- 4 cups rolled oats (can sub 1 cup of oats for pumpkin or sunflower seeds)
- 1 1/2 cups coconut chips
- 1 cup almonds, roughly chopped (or walnut, pecans, pistachios)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup real maple syrup
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup dried cranberries or cherries
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a paper towel, rub a little vegetable oil on the paper covering each pan.
In a large bowl mix together everything but the maple syrup, vegetable oil, and dried fruit. Make sure the brown sugar is well mixed. Measure the maple syrup and vegetable oil into one measuring cup and pour over the oats mixture. Stir well until all oats are moistened. Divide the oats between the two baking sheets. You want to make sure the oats are in an even but somewhat thick layer (about 1 inch). That may mean not spreading the oats to the edge of the pan, depending on the size of your pan. I use a 9×13″ and a 8×8″ rimmed pan. I find those sizes perfect for managing the amount of granola in this recipe.
Bake the granola for 40-45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes until golden brown. During the last 15 minutes of cooking, check the granola after 10 minutes- it may have browned enough at this point. Remove from the oven and let cool overnight. Yes, overnight! It’s crucial to let it remain untouched for this long in order for the granola to clump.
The next day, remove the granola from the pan. Store in an air tight container or large zip lock bag. Pour the dried fruit into the storage container and toss gently to combine. Best eaten within 1 week of making.