I don't make granola all that often because I'm usually tempted to eat the entire batch. All 10 cups. Most of it probably before it even cools. However, today I went cross-country skiing and figured that was as good an excuse as any to make a batch. It's easy to carry, convenient and good energy when you're skiing for a few hours.
A little while back I made Hazelnut Almond Granola and thought I had finally figured out the secret to granola. It even had those coveted clusters. It turns out, clusters are not necessarily the way to go. Recently Cathy showed me a recipe for maple nut granola from Terry Walters' Clean Food. We made it last weekend and it was honestly the best I've ever had/made. It's not clumpy, which makes it perfect for yogurt and it is sweetened with only maple syrup. I adapted it slightly, leaving out cashews and switching raisins for dried unsweetened cherries. You could really mix in whatever you like, just make sure to put the dried fruit in after you bake the granola and whatever you do, don't leave out the almond extract.
Maple Nut Granola
If you can't find crispy brown rice cereal, regular rice crispies work fine. Just make sure you don't buy puffed rice cereal. Makes 10 cups.
4 cups rolled oats
2 cups crispy brown rice cereal
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 1/2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
1 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup walnuts (or whatever other nuts you like)
1 cup unsweetened dried cherries (or whatever dried fruit you like)
2 Tbls ground cinnamon
3/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup (real) maple syrup
1 tsp almond extract.
Mix dry ingredients except for fruit, set aside
In another bowl whisk oil, syrup and almond extract together
Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and mix until well coated
Spread evenly on 2 9x13 casserole or half jelly roll pans. If you're oven isn't big enough to place them side by side put one on the lower rack but make sure you switch them half way through.
Bake at 250 for 60 minutes or until golden. (I got a little impatient and turned it up to 300 or maybe even 350 at one point. Just keep stirring it every few minutes so the bottom doesn't burn
Let cool, mix in dried cherries or other dried fruit
Picture courtesy of Mike Zuber