It’s normal to get off a plane, go home, and make granola (clumpalicious almond granola, to be exact), right? That’s what I did my first night back for spring break at the end of March.
You may have noticed that I changed the name. According to America’s Test Kitchen, it’s “Almond Granola with Dried Fruit,” which is very nondescript. But now when I see “clumpalicious,” I know exactly what’s going on. I thought I was being original, but I guess not. Oh well, great minds think alike.
I totally eyeballed the syrup and sugar. I didn’t want to have the clean the measuring cup, and then I realized that I would need it for the oil. Sigh. I used roasted, salted almonds since that’s what I had and I’m carless. But also, I feel like raw almonds take a really long time to toast up to the point where I feel happy with them, so I was fine with starting with already roasted almonds.
I wasn’t quite sure what was considered “very compact,” but I tried to smoosh it down with my spatula as much as possible before calling it a day. I threw it into a 325F oven before remembering that it runs cold, and bumped it up to 350F. Let me say, it smells fantastic- all that maple and brown sugar mingling and becoming best friends. I ended up baking it for 40 minutes.
I waited 30 minutes instead of 1 hour before breaking them apart, so it was still a touch warm. Should you wait the whole hour? Yes. Do you absolutely have to or else the granola police will come out and taser your impatient butt? Nope. It was a bit crumblier than it was probably supposed to be, but they still clumped fairly well.
I used cranberries because I really like them (cranberries > raisins, except in oatmeal raisin cookies and Port wine sauce for pork chops). I didn’t bother cutting those up. I almost chopped up some apricots, too, but laziness!!
Oh my goodness, this clumpalicious almond granola was good. It’s kind of like the Nature Valley granola, but better. Did you know that they have a granola that’s basically the bar but crushed up? They always crumble when I eat them, so the granola form works for me. It also has more sugar than you would think: Cinnamon Toast Crunch has 9g sugar per 3/4 cup serving, whereas the Nature Valley has 18g per 3/4 cup. Definitely tricky there when the healthy thing isn’t all that.
Anyways, if you like maple, then you’re going to like this granola. It’s like maple-flavored caramelized oats. So good. And if you don’t like maple syrup, honey could be a great alternative, since you could use something mild like clover honey if you wanted a more neutral granola. I liked it with the cranberries, since they were sweet-tart and kind of cut the sweetness. I would want to cut down the sweetness a touch, but I’d be afraid of losing the stickiness. I think some sesame seeds in here would be great as well, for even more crunch and nuttiness.
I ate this plain, since clumpalicious almond granola speaks for itself, but it would be really good with milk, too. I realize this isn’t a revolutionary idea, but the milk would become all maple-y and sweet (like cereal milk!) AND the granola would still stay crunchy. This is kind of my dream granola.
ATK’s Clumpalicious Almond Granola
1/3 cup maple syrup or honey
1/3 cup brown sugar
4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup oil (canola, vegetable, coconut could all work; coconut will give you a slight flavor and aroma though)
5 cups rolled oats
2 cups raw almonds, chopped coarsely
2 cups dried fruit, chopped (I used dried cranberries)
- Whisk the maple syrup, sugar, vanilla and salt in large bowl. Whisk in the oil. Mix in the oats and almonds until well-coated.
- Transfer to Silpat-lined baking sheet and spread into a thin layer. Compress with the back of a spatula until very compact. Bake at 325F until lightly browned, 40 to 45 minutes, rotating halfway through baking. Cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Break into pieces of your desired size. Stir in the fruit.