I love good granola. Seriously, it’s awesome. I don’t like the stuff you buy at the stores and while I do like to splurge every now and again on Jess’s AMAZING pistachio and fig granola at Astro Coffee Co. I can’t be going out to breakfast every morning because it has the tendency to make my bank account cry.
So I set out to just make my own. I’ve learned that it also will make your house smell amazing. My entire loft smells like toasted brown sugar and maple syrup. Makes me yearn for fall… then I remembered I’m not ready to let go of summer yet so that cleared up pretty quick.
Just know that while I used hazelnuts and pear in mine, you’re free to replace it with any dried fruit and nuts you would like. I’ll probably post more varieties every now and again. Detroiters, everything you need for good granola you can get at Rocky Peanut Company (link to Yelp) in Eastern Market. They have all sorts of dried fruit and a great variety of nuts, they also have oats in bulk.
Adapted from Cooks Illustrated
- ⅓ cup of maple syrup
- ⅓ cup of packed brown sugar (about 2.5 ounces)
- 4 tsp. vanilla extract
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ cup of vegetable oil
- 5 cups of old-fashioned rolled oats
- 2 cups of skinned hazelnuts, chopped
- 2 cups of dried pears, chopped
- Adjust your oven rack to an upper-middle position and preheat it to 325
- Whisk the syrup, brown sugar, vanilla and salt in a large bowl
- Fold the oats and nuts until coated
- Bake the granola for 45 minutes
- After baking, remove the granola and allow to cool for about 1 hour
- Break the cooled granola into pieces of your preferred size
- Stir in whatever dried fruit you want, if you hadn’t added it to the mixture.
When I made it for the photos, I accidentally put in the dried fruit with the granola. I can’t cook and talk to people at the same time, apparently… anyhoo, I found that this took away some of the crunchiness because even dried, fruit has a bit of moisture in them. I will say that the granola was still quite crunchy and because I used pear, which isn’t all that sweet to begin with, the maple syrup and brown sugar caramelized on it and tasted like the VIP section of what I’m pretty sure is the most exclusive club in heaven. So yeah, it was a mistake but it turned out to be an awesome one. Personally I don’t like things to be too sweet so having less syrup and brown sugar in the oats themselves made it perfect for me. If you like really crunchy sweet granola, you probably should add in the fruit after it’s been cooked.
So the best way to do it, I think, would be to bake the pear on a separate baking sheet for 10-20 minutes with some of that syrup mixture. This will allow the sugars in the pear to slightly caramelize and bring out a more smoky flavor that went great in the granola. Cooking them separately will ensure your granola is perfectly crisp.