Caramelized Almond Granola

I first made granola in high school when I realized that it is something you can easily cook from cheap raw ingredients–oatmeal, sugar, and oil– and that it usually sells for a whopping $6-8 per pound at the grocery store. Frugality led me to start making my own granola, but once you’ve tasted homemade, you can’t really go back to store bought. The homemade version takes about 10 minutes to put together and 10 minutes to eat (at least in my household, where whole cakes are gone in an instant).

Over the years, I’ve learned to make granola on the fly using whatever is around the house. The general idea is to make a base of about a 1:1:3 ratio of sugar (maple, honey, agave, brown, etc.) to oil (vegetable, nut butter) to oats (instant or rolled), and then add flavoring (cinnamon, vanilla, cocoa powder, liquors), nuts, seeds, chocolate, and dried fruit as desired. Today’s granola tastes of lightly burnt sugar and toasted almonds. Be warned that it’s a little bit on the sweet side and that you can replace some of the honey or maple sugar with more almond butter if you don’t like having a sugar overload.

Dry Ingredients

  • 3 cups oatmeal (I used instant.)
  • a pinch of salt (~1/4 tsp)
  • 1/3 cup dried fruit (I used a Costco mix of prunes, apples, peaches, and apricots.)

Wet Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup (or fake maple syrup is okay too)
  • 1/3 cup almond butter (I used Maranatha brand. The oilier the better.)
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Directions

  1. Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. Combine wet ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir/whisk until well-mixed and runny (not thick). Be careful not to let the sugar burn.
  3. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients while still hot and stir.
  4. Place mixture on an oiled cookie sheet and bake at 325 F for about 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so. Cool completely (the granola will become crunchier as it cools).

 

 

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