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This is a great granola recipe from Fine Cooking Magazine (Dec. 2005) for those who like big clusters. The chunks of tasty oats and nuts can be eaten easily out of hand and stay crisp in milk, too. If you want a lighter cereal, substitute some plain puffed cereal (like rice or millet) for some of the oats. You can use other dried fruit, like dried apricots and nut oils rather than canola. Stored in an airtight container, this granola keeps well for a week (after that, it loses some crunch and the dates begin to harden). Yields 11 to 12 cups.
- vegetable oil, spray
- 4 cups old fashioned oats (not quick-cooking)
- 8 ounces walnut pieces (2 cups)
- 1⁄2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1⁄2 cup nonfat dry milk powder
- 1⁄2 teaspoon table salt
- 1 1⁄2 cups pure maple syrup (Grade B is recommended)
- 1⁄4 cup canola oil
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 8 -9 ounces pitted dates, halved or quartered, depending on size (2 cups)
- Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 300°F Spray two rimmed baking sheets with vegetable oil spray. In a large bowl, mix the oats, walnuts, whole-wheat flour, dry milk powder, and salt. In a medium bowl, combine the maple syrup, oil, and vanilla; stir well. Add the maple syrup mixture to the oats and mix to combine.
- Divide the mixture between the two oiled baking sheets, distributing it in 1- to 2-inch clumps. Bake for 20 minutes and then flip the clusters with a metal spatula and switch the positions of the pans in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes, flip the granola again, and bake until the granola has a very fragrant, toasty aroma and the nuts look well toasted, about another 15 minutes. (Watch carefully to ensure the granola doesn't burn.).
- Let cool completely in the pans. Break up any large clumps. When completely cool and dry, mix in the dates.