Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Maple Nut Baked Granola

For a while I was trying a new granola recipe every week. Nothing tasted right. Too soggy. Underdone. Too well-done. Too sweet. Not sweet enough. Then... My subscription to Cook's Illustrated arrived. The recipes these pages contain aren't just tested once or twice. These people test their recipes over and over and over, ensuring that the recipe they print on their pages will work. And it does, every time! They not only give you the HOW, but also the WHY (which us nerdy folks will find appealing).
This Granola Recipe leaves you a little wiggle room to add your own favorite ingredients. I've tried it so many ways, but here's my favorite. Enjoy.

Maple Nut Granola

1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup packed brown sugar (or light brown)
4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
5 cups old fashioned rolled oats (not instant)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp ginger
3/4 cup almonds, chopped*
3/4 cup cashews, chopped*
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped*
3/4 cup pecans, chopped*

*You can substitute for whatever you want. Ideas include flax seeds, shredded coconut, peanuts, chocolate chips, and dried fruit. Do not add dried fruit or chocolate chips until after the granola is done cooking and is cool.

1. Preheat oven to 325 Degrees
2.Whisk wet ingredients and the spices in a large bowl
3. Add in oats and nuts.
4. Spread onto parchment lined rimmed baking sheet and press firmly with a spatula (or use stoneware, like I do)
5. Bake for 40-45 minutes, rotating the pan once during cooking.
6. The finished product will resemble a golden 'bark.' When granola is cool, break it into pieces. You can choose the size.

Store in a sealed container up to one month. Makes about 8 cups.

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