I am a granola junkie. It’s pretty much all I ever eat for breakfast on top of my acai smoothie or by itself. I have tried just about every granola one can purchase at both grocery and gourmet stores. I’ve stayed at a cornucopia of high-end hotels at which I’ve tested granola. And, on the rare occasion that I eat out for breakfast, granola is about all I’m interested in ordering. My peeves about granola are that it’s too fattening, full of dried fruit, seeds, shavings, spices, and not the right texture, color, or crunch. I love granola pure, simple and sweet but not too sweet. It wasn’t until I started homemaking granola that I got close to heaven.
One of my yoga clients loves to bake and I am a lucky recipient of his fabulous goods. His granola recipe is definitely the best granola I have ever eaten and is foolproof. Moreover, when made with fresh natural ingredients, the granola is not only healthy (oats and almonds) but is also super delicious. It is hands-down one of my favorite things to eat. I often eat it plain for breakfast (as finger food) and more commonly as a topping on my acai smoothie.
Below is the best homemade granola recipe as was written in an email from my client (original version published in Cook’s Illustrated).
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup light brown sugar
4 tsps vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I use canola)
5 cups rolled oats
2 cups hand chopped raw almonds
Oven at 325, line a full sized rimmed baking sheet w/parchment (I don’t use parchment). Rack upper middle.
1. Whisk maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla and salt in bowl
2. Whisk in oil
3. Fold in oats and almonds until coated
4. Place all ingredients onto a cookie sheet, level it off, make a nice rectangle, pat it down hard to compress (should be about 3/8th of an inch thick).
5. Bake for 40-45 minutes, rotate half way through baking.
I don’t use parchment and I only use 1 cup of almonds. 2 cups is too nutty for me! It’s important to chop the almonds to the correct size–halves are way too big, quarters and eighths about right. Make sure to constantly check your granola while it’s cooking; I find that it’s easy to over bake; every batch is unique. When I reach the half way point and rotate my granola, I make sure that I bring up the bottom oats and squish the top ones down. Once the rotation is complete, I compress the oats again. The added compression allows for clusters to form, which are fun to find in your tin and crunch.
I have gotten a ton of rave reviews for this recipe. It’s in one of the top three posts on this site. Here is one: “This is truely a great granola recipe. My husband and I don’t usually eat granola. I could’t keep my hands out of the bag and after several days I noticed my husband was eating it every morning with yogurt. I’ve made it twice so far. Thanks for this fabulous recipe.”