Thursday, August 13, 2015
I'm calling this everyday granola, because I eat it almost every day. This is not an exaggeration. After going through a spate of leftovers-for-breakfast, and then the boiled egg years, I am now firmly in a delicious rut of granola. It's my new go-to gift for friends who need a little culinary love. It's something I'm sure I have a fresh batch of before my friend arrives for house-/dog-sitting duty. It's something I just can't seem to get tired of.
This recipe came from Cook's Illustrated, as flagged by my dear friend Rebecca (though I've tweaked it a wee bit further). It's basic, brown, and, comparatively, not so exciting. It's also ridiculously delicious. I canNOT STOP making this.
This granola is, of course, perfect for breakfast. But it's also a perfect hold-me-over snack. And a perfect I'm-walking-by-the-jar-I-might-as-well-grab-a-handful indulgence. It's lightly sweetened, and clumps into crunchy clusters (thanks to a nice tamping-down before the oven). These summer days, I'm fond of it mixed with a bit of tart yogurt and juicy nectarines, but it's also lovely with just a splash of almond milk. I've occasionally dressed it up with a handful of buckwheat (which toasts to a surprisingly light crispness), and recently even tried a spoonful of fennel (lesson learned: don't). But mostly, I make it just as written. Again and again and again.
yields ~8 cups
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup oil (olive oil is nice, though others work too)
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
4 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup raw almonds, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons flax seeds
Move your rack to the top third of the oven, and preheat your oven to 325° Fahrenheit (make sure it's fully preheated, or you risk scorching the bottom). Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment or silpat liner (reportedly this is not optional, unless you fancy chipping granola off a pan).
In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, maple syrup, oil, vanilla, and salt, until well combined. Add the oats, almonds, sunflower and flax seeds, and stir, scooping the goo from the bottom, until everything is well coated.
Transfer the mixture to your pan, and smooth it into an even layer. Using a pancake spatula, press down firmly and evenly — like really, really firmly — to compress the mixture as much as you can. If you don't have a flat spatula, you can place another sheet of parchment on top, and then press down with another pan.
Transfer the pan to the oven, and bake ~30-40 minutes, until just lightly browned. Turn off the oven, and leave the pan in the residual heat for another 10 minutes. Remove the pan, and let it cool fully — this will take longer than you'd think (about an hour), but you need to wait in order for your granola to set and not crumble to bits. When cool, break into chunks of your desired size, and store in a covered container.