Most mornings, I start my day with a bowl of Greek yogurt mixed with granola and a swirl of honey. It’s healthy, satisfying and fast, which is exactly what I need at that hour. My friend Anne is a granola guru and she has given me several delicious recipes over the years. But my favorite is one that I happened upon last year in the March & April 2012 issue of Cook’s Illustrated. I like it because it doesn’t require a lot of ingredients and it truly lives up to its title of “Super-Chunky Granola.” As you can see from the photo below, the pieces are well, chunky, a result of pressing the entire mixture into the pan with a metal spatula. I make this granola regularly, as well as a version with walnuts and spices, and it is delightful for breakfast or a mid-afternoon snack. In fact, it’s hard to stop sneaking handfuls throughout the day, especially when it is freshly made. This granola is so much better than what you’ll find in stores—it has way less sugar and won’t break your bank. Make up a batch and tell me what you think.
Almond Granola (adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, March & April 2012)
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
5 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (do not use quick oats)
2 cups raw almonds, chopped coarse
2 cups raisins or other dried fruit, chopped. (I omit this, because I like it better with just almonds.)
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 almonds until thoroughly coated. Transfer oat mixture to prepared baking sheet and spread across 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, rotating pan once halfway through baking. Remove granola from oven and cool on a wire rack to room temperate, about 1 hour. Break cooled granola into pieces of desired size. Stir in dried fruit if using. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
Spiced Walnut Version
Add 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger, 3/4 teaspoons ground allspice, 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, and 1/2 teaspoons black pepper to maple syrup mixture in Step 2. Substitute coarsely chopped walnuts for almonds.
This post is part of Food Network’s Sensational Sides series. For more delicious ways to prepare grains, check out the blogs below!
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Chinese Shrimp Fried Rice
Devour: Farro Salad With Greek Yogurt
Dishin & Dishes: Kale, Quinoa and Black Bean Salad
The Cultural Dish: Lemon Risotto
The Sensitive Epicure: Stir-Fried Quinoa With Chinese Vegetables
Virtually Homemade: Spring Couscous Salad With a Citrus Vinaigrette
Cooking With Elise: Mediterranean Orzo Salad
Weelicious: Mushroom Barley
Thursday Night Dinner: Quinoa Salad With Cucumbers, Tomatoes and Mint
FN Dish: Good Grains Make for Balanced Meals