Tuesday, March 6, 2012

almond-maple granola clusters

I really love making and eating granola. I am a bit of a snacker, and I don't feel guilty when I eat granola—especially if it's homemade, hence the many posts of new granola recipes. I was looking for one that had the texture of those Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bars, cause they are so great for an on-the-go snack, and I found this one from one of my favorite sites, Serious Eats. I like that it makes so much, and can keep for a long time, cause who doesn't love a time-saver? Also, the recipe is originally gluten-free, but I made this using wheat flour, and less salt than originally called for.

Almond-Maple Granola Clusters, adapted from Serious Eats
yield: makes about 7 cups of granola, active time 15 minutes, total time about one hour

6 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup (use the real stuff)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 300 °F;. Line an 18 by 13-inch rimmed baking sheet with a slipat or parchment paper. Set pan aside. In large bowl, toss together oats, almond flour, wheat flour, and salt. Pour canola oil evenly over the mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon to coat mixture evenly with oil.

Combine maple syrup and dark brown sugar in a medium pot. Warm mixture over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, about six minutes. Gently stir the mixture frequently. Remove pot from the heat. Add vanilla extract. Stir to combine.

Pour sugar-mixture over oat-mixture. Stir with a wood spoon to combine. At first, the granola will be thick and sticky. Continue stirring, breaking up an lumps of sugar/oats with the back of the wooden spoon, until the sugar-maple is evenly distributed.

Press mixture very firmly into prepared pan. Bake until golden brown and aromatic, about 45 minutes. Remove pan from oven. Immediately score granola into bars. (The granola might break into smaller pieces when scored. This is fine.) Allow granola to cool. "Snap" bars into bite-size nuggets. Store granola in a covered container for up to two weeks.

**Note from Serious Eats author: The recipe makes a generous amount of granola. If you don't have an 18 by 13-inch baking pan, divide the granola between two 13 by 9-inch pans. Squeezing all the granola into one 13 by 9-inch pan causes the granola to bake unevenly and the finished granola isn't crisp.

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