Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Maple Vanilla Granola Clusters with Almonds and Coconut

Growing up, I remember my mom making granola. She would bake it and then store it in her big orange (or was it green???) tupperware and keep it out in our Arizona room (is that what those rooms are really called? or is it something my family made up?). The whole house smelled like cookies on the day she made it, and then, when I would go into the backyard, that heavenly scent would be lingering in the Arizona room. I hated it, because I didn't like granola!!! What was I thinking? We may never know. I believe that in my naivety, I couldn't fully appreciate how amazingly delicious granola could be!

I've been buying the vanilla almond granola at Winco (this is the same as Sprouts vanilla granola, but about half the price per pound) and MAN is it good! So I wanted to find a copycat recipe. I found a great one here that sounded promising. I made it today with a few adjustments and let me tell you. Delish!!

So, here are the ingredients. Oats (they always say not to use quick oats, and I just realized that I have been for the last 2 years. TWO YEARS and I didnt realize I grabbed the wrong box at Costco. *shaking the head in shame* Anyways, i've never noticed a difference. Obviously.), wheat germ, oat bran, salt, maple syrup, raw sugar, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, almonds and shredded coconut.

First, combine your oats, wheat germ, oat bran and salt in a big old bowl.

Then, mix your syrup, sugar, oil and vanilla together in a saucepan and stir over med-low heat until the sugar dissolves. I used raw sugar because that's what I had, but the original recipe calls for brown sugar. Brown sugar would dissolve more easily. Or if you have white sugar and molasses, just use the white sugar with about a Tbsp or two of molasses. There really is a plethora of choices here with the sugar.

Next, make a well in your oats and pour in the sugar, oil, vanilla, syrup goodness.

Blend everything real well. Don't be afraid to be a little intense, here. The better coated your oats are, the better the clusters will stick together. YAY clusters.

See how moist mine looks in the picture above? I was pretty intensely mixing. And in the picture below, I intensely spreaded and packed the granola into my parchment-lined cookie sheet.

Pack that baby tight! Less air means more, longer-lasting clusters. (can you tell I really like my clusters?)

After you have everything packed down good and tight, throw the cookie sheet into a 300*F preheated oven for 40-45 mins. Pull it out and start cutting square-like pieces with a spatula. You just want to define some big pieces here.

This is where I added my sliced almonds and coconut. I wanted them to toast a little bit and stick to the rest of the granola in the oven. (Update: Just mix the almonds and coconut into the oats and other dry ingredients. I don't know why the original recipe said to wait to add them, but I like the way they taste better if the bake with everything from the start.)

 Ignore the lighting in these is aweful. Toss things just enough to get the coconut and almonds all over, then put it back in the oven for 5-10 more mins.

When I pulled mine out after the last cook-time, it wasn't quite as toasted as I wanted. (bear in mind, my oven is from the 1800's. It doesn't even have a window. Or a lock.) So I tossed the granola a tiny bit and put it under the broiler for about 2 mins. Turned. Out. Perfect!!!! Go make you some and enjoy!

Maple Vanilla Granola Clusters
w/ Almonds and Coconut

- 5 c. oats (rolled or quick will work)
- 1 c. wheat germ
- 1 c. oat bran
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1/2 c. sliced almonds
- 1/2 c. shredded coconut
- 1/2 c. maple syrup
- 1/2 c. raw sugar
- 1/2 c. vegetable oil
- 2 t. vanilla extract

1.  Preheat oven to 300*F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
2.  Combine oats, wheat germ, oat bran, salt, almonds and coconut in a large bowl.
3.  Mix syrup, sugar, oil and vanilla in a small sauce pan. Stir over medium-low heat until the sugar is     dissolved.
4.  Pour the syrup mixture into the oat mixture and stir until evenly distributed. Pour the contents of the bowl onto your prepared cookie sheet and press the oats firmly and evenly into the pan.
5.  Bake about 40-45 mins in preheated oven. Break into clusters and gently toss. Return pan to oven for 5-10 minutes more, or until you reach desired toastiness. Feel free to crank up the broiler if needed, but don't forget about it! Broilers work very quickly.
6.  Store in an air-tight container or ziplock baggy. Serve plain or with milk as a cereal.

Adapted from Maple Vanilla Granola with Almonds at

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