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Saturday, October 14, 2017

October 14: Maple Almond Cranberry Granola

Here we are on another rainy Saturday. 

But mine started off unexpectedly well. I woke to the fluttery kiss of my younger daughter. I sleepily asked, "What time is it?" thinking she'd beat the alarm. Turns out it was 9:19 which meant I'd not only missed the 7am alarm, but also the entirety of my older daughter's soccer game. I felt a swelling of love for my husband who let me sleep in and took care of things today. Hurrah!

Now I'm up and about and well-rested and well fed (did I mention my husband came home from soccer and made us scrambled eggs with fresh herbs!?) so it's time to do something fall-ish. 

But what?

I scanned my (ridiculously messy) kitchen counter, wondering what to make. 

That's when my eyes fell on my nearing-empty granola canister. BINGO.

I love homemade granola. I enjoy eating it atop yogurt or even warmed in a small amount of Unsweetened Vanilla Coconut-Almond Breeze. Mmm. I like that I can control what I put into it and that it's kind of forgiving as long as you have a basic understanding of the best method of cooking it (low and slow-- 300 degrees for 45 minutes, with stirs every 15 minutes). After that, you can play around with whatever mix-ins you enjoy most. 

I've tried several different recipes over the past few years, but a lot of them fail to wow me. That's why I pretty much always make the same kind--Banana Pecan--using mashed bananas as moisture in place of any kind of oil or other fat. (I'll share the recipe on here sometime.) 

Still, I pinned this maple almond cranberry one last year and every time I scroll through my saved pins, I see it and think, "I should try that. It looks so good." Well guess what? Today's the day. 

It's another Sally's Baking Addiction recipe. (I've previously explained my love of Sally's recipes. I have all three of her cookbooks. She has a new one out--all cookies!--and my favorite fudge recipe is straight out of her candy book, but my heart still belongs to the first one which has a little bit of everything. With holiday time approaching, you should treat yourself or the baker in your life.) 

Not only did the photos capture me, but the flavor profile--almonds! maple! cinnamon! dried cranberries!--make it an ideal choice for my fall fest. And since I recently restocked my nut supply, I was ready to do this thing. 

Here's what I did:

Maple Almond Cranberry Granola

Yield: about 4 cups


2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (NOT quick-cooking)
1 cup almonds (I did mine as half slivered almonds and half whole almonds, just to mix up the texture)
2/3 cup dried cranberries
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup real maple syrup (not to be confused with the maple-flavored high fructose corn syrup varieties)
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 300. (This is the perfect temperature for granola because it's just hot enough to toast things but not so hot that it burns. Trust me on that-- I learned from experience!) Line a baking sheet with parchment or Silpat. (I prefer Silpat with my granola because it adds an extra layer of insulation against over-browning.)

2. Combine oats, almonds, cranberries, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
3. Combine melted coconut oil, vanilla, and syrup in a measuring cup and pour over the dry mix.

4. Stir so that all the oat mixture is moistened by the wet ingredients.

5. Pour onto pan and bake for 45 minutes. Stir every 15 minutes so that the granola toasts evenly.
Before baking
After baking, nice and toasty
6. After baking, pour onto waxed paper or parchment laid out on the counter. Cool completely. (It'll get crunchier as it cools.) Store in an airtight container once it's completely cool. (If it has any heat left in it, it'll be kind of chewy. So be careful.) 

Speaking of after baking, I just took it out of the oven. 

The verdict? Thoroughly delightful. On par with my favorite banana variety. Which is great news, because the only thing better than having one favorite granola recipe is having two favorite granola recipes!

As I was snapping a pic of it in my festive maple leaf bowl (above), all I could think was, "This would be ideal for a brunch! Set up the granola in the bowl with a serving spoon, set an assortment of yogurt and berries nearby, and BOOM!" Seriously. Now I want to host a brunch. 

Hahaha. Oh geez. I must've gotten too much sleep!

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