Super-Chunky Almond Granola with Dried Fruit

One of my favorite pieces of reading material for cooking is a magazine called Cook’s Illustrated. This is an excellent magazine for anyone learning how to cook and it even has great flavorful recipes made to perfection from America’s Test Kitchen, suitable for anyone who loves to cook and loves great food. America’s Test Kitchen is a real 2,500 square foot test kitchen located just outside of Boston that is home to more than three dozen full-time cooks and product testers. Their mission is simple, to develop the absolute best recipes for all of your favorite foods. To do this, they test each recipe 30, 40, sometimes as many as 70 times, until they arrive at the combination of ingredients, techniques, temperatures, cooking times, and equipment that yields the best, most-foolproof recipe. Just about anything I have cooked from this magazine has been easily “the best thing I ever ate” material. Not only does this magazine give outstanding recipes, but it also talks about tips for cooking, sometimes history of where a food came from, equipment recommendations, product ratings, and so much more. This is easily my favorite must-have cooking magazine! Thank you Uncle Randy for this wonderful Christmas gift a couple of years ago, it has transformed our kitchen and cooking skills and we can not thank you enough.

One, of my favorite breakfast meals besides eggs is granola. I love granola with a little milk or even sprinkled over some All Natural Brown Cow Yogurt. If you haven’t had Brown Cow yogurt, you are seriously missing out! You can pick some up at your local Whole Foods, it will change your mind about yogurt forever, trust me!

Now I usually get pretty cranky if I run out of granola, because the stuff is expensive from those fill-it-yourself containers at the grocery store. I mean $10 for a little 12 oz bag, seriously, are they trying to rob me blind! I just want some delicious granola! So you can understand my excitement when I saw a granola recipe in my new Cook’s Illustrated magazine issue. It’s like this magazine can read my mind.

So if you have had it with the overpriced (and underwhelming) store-bought stuff, give this recipe a try. Warning, you are in for a treat! 🙂

Super-Chunky Almond Granola with Dried Fruit

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Ingredients:

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

4 teaspoons of vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoons of salt

1/2 cup vegetable oil

5 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (DON’T USE QUICK OATS!)

2 cups raw almonds, chopped coarsely ( Use knife and not a food processor, a food processor does a lousy job at chopping whole nuts evenly)

2 cups of raisins or other dried fruit (I used Craisins, because that is what I had on hand)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper (I use both for easy clean up)

ImageWhisk maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla and salt in a large bowl. Whisk in oil.

ImageChop up nuts with a knife and not a food processor, for a more even pieces.

ImageFold in nuts.

ImageFold in oats until thoroughly coated.

ImageTransfer oat mixture to prepared baking sheet and spread across sheet pan, into thin even layer (about 3/8 inch thick). Using a stiff metal spatula, compress oat mixture until very compact.

ImageBake until lightly browned, 40 to 45 minutes (rotating pan once halfway through baking). Remove granola from oven and place on cooling rack for about an hour.

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Break cooled granola into pieces of desired size. Stir in dried fruit.

Store in air tight container for up to two weeks.

Enjoy!

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