Best Granola Ever

Of all the baked treats I bring my husband on our weekly weekend meetings, I think this homemade granola — maybe even more than chocolate-chip cookies and rich, fudgy brownies — makes him happiest. With a tub of this oat-, nut- and fruit-filled mix on hand, and with the barest of kitchen equipment, Ben can enjoy a homemade breakfast with little effort. Mixed with yogurt or milk, sliced bananas or peaches, blueberries or strawberries, homemade granola truly is a treat.

And as a last resort, granola also makes a fine dinner, as my high school friends — subjected to institutional dining hall food three times a day at an early age — can attest. Amazingly, they still never tire of granola and appreciate a homemade batch all the more.

This recipe has been adapted from Ina Garten’s “the bare foot contessa cookbook.” While the amounts of oil, nuts and dried fruit have been significantly changed, the proportion of the foundation — a mix of oats, sliced almonds and cococut (the secret ingredient) — remains unaltered.

Homemade Granola

4 cups (14 oz.) rolled oats
2 cups (6.5 oz.) sweetened, shredded coconut
2 cups (6.75 oz.) sliced almonds
½ cup (4 oz.) vegetable oil
2/3 cup (7.25 oz) honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon sea salt or 1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 heaping cup (5.25 oz.) dried cherries or cranberries

candied nuts (recipe below)

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. In a large bowl, combine oats, coconut and almonds and gently stir or toss with your hands to mix well. In a small saucepan, combine oil, honey, vanilla and salt and heat for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring to emulsify slightly. Pour over the oat mixture and with a spatula stir until evenly coated. Spread onto a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and stir well. Return to the oven and bake for 5 minutes. Stir well again. Repeat twice more until the granola is golden — be very careful at the end: The coconut will burn easily, leaving the granola with a bitter, burnt taste. Remove pan from the oven, place on a cooling rack and leave undisturbed until completely cool, at least one hour. Meanwhile prepare the nuts:

Candied Nuts:
neutral oil such as canola or vegetable
1/3 cup sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1½ cups raw, unsalted cashews
1½ cups raw, unsalted almonds (skin on)

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Oil a rimmed baking sheet.

In a small saucepan, combine sugar with ¼ cup water, the salt and cinnamon and bring to a boil. Add the nuts and let the mixture simmer for one minute, stirring constantly to coat them with the syrup. Remove the nuts with a slotted spoon and spread them on the prepared baking sheet — don’t be tempted to drizzle the excess syrup on the baking sheet as well (it will just burn). Bake for 15 minutes, stir and return to the oven until golden and crisp, about another five minutes. Remove pan from the oven and place on a cooling rack to cool, about an hour.

To finish the granola:

Using a bench scraper, carefully remove the granola from the pan and transfer to a bowl, keeping the granola in chunks as best as possible. Add the nuts to the bowl, breaking up the mass into small clusters. Add the dried fruit and toss mixture lightly to combine. Transfer to an airtight container to store.

10 Comments

  1. as i take time to cruise through your blog this morning. i am sooo impressed by all the recipes and links. great job!! im gonna try this recipe

    Reply
  2. Hi there, I just wanted to stay that I stumbled across this granola recipe several months ago and it is amazing! I altered it just slightly by adding two more cups of oats and extra liquid. It’s definitely the end-all to my search for the perfect indulgent granola! I’m making two big batches tonight for Christmas presents. Thank you! Merry Christmas! : )

    Reply
  3. RachelleLouise — I am so glad you have had success with this recipe and with your alterations of the recipe. It is one of my favorite recipes, too, and I am dying to make some myself. Merry Christmas to you!

    Reply
  4. after you made this for us @ album over the holidays, i just KNEW i needed more… i decided to give it a try. i burnt it a little because my oven is wild but it’s still sooo good. (non-dairy) chocolate chips are a great addition, too. i managed to find a use for the delicious, amazing leftover syrup from the nuts, too! i sliced a banana into quarters, grilled them in the syrup for ~5 minutes + garnished with a little powdered sugar. yum– vegan bananas foster!

    Reply
  5. I made it yesterday – without candied nuts, but it turned out amazing! So good, that I made more in the evening:)) hope all is well Ali :))) thanks for this recipe!

    Reply
  6. Could you tell me how much oil you are using when making the candied nuts? It doesn’t specify any amount.
    Thanks, Ron

    Reply
    • Hi Ron,

      You just want a thin layer/coating of oil — it’s to prevent the nuts from sticking — so, maybe a teaspoon or a teeny bit more? Alternatively, you could use parchment paper.

      If you want a less fussy version of the recipe (no nuts, no dried fruit), check out this post, which I did last October. It’s an updated granola post. The nuts are a wonderful, however, so don’t let my laziness deter you from making them!

      Reply
  7. This is the second time I have made this. It really is the best recipe I have ever tried, and it is definitely a keeper. Thanks for this!!!

    Reply

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