Yield: about 9 cups
1/3 c. maple syrup
1/3 c. packed light brown sugar
4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. vegetable oil
5 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
2 c. (10 oz) raw almonds, chopped coarse
2 c. raisins or other dried fruit, chopped
Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Whisk maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk in oil. Fold in oats and almonds until thoroughly coated. Transfer oat mixture to prepared baking sheet and spread across sheet into a thin, even layer (about 3/8" thick). Using a stiff metal spatula, compress oat mixture until very compact. Bake until lightly browned, 40-45 minutes, rotating pan once halfway through baking. Remove granola from the oven and cool on a wire rack to room temperature, about 1 hour.
Break cooled granola into pieces of desired size. Stir in dried fruit. Granola can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks (though it won't last that long - believe me! You'll eat it before then).
I really love granola, and have experimented off and on with a number of different recipes. Here are some conclusions I have come to over the years and over the recipes:
1. I like chunky granola
2. I like granola with variety - the more nuts, fruit, seeds, and grains in there, the better
3. I like it with just enough sweetness to cut the tang of plain yogurt
4. I prefer not having to stir it every 15 minutes for an hour or two ... I can't commit to that these days!
This recipe fulfills three out of four of those right away - the only thing it doesn't necessarily have is all the variety (but that can easily be remedied with substituting other chopped nuts or seeds for the almonds).
You don't even have to stir it once, and if you forget to rotate the pan halfway through baking (like I forgot to yesterday) then there's no harm really.
It's got just the right about of sweetness in there, so that I feel like I'm getting something special for breakfast.
I've made this three times in the last month ... most recently I substituted almond extract for the vanilla (because that's what I had 4 teaspoons of) and I am crazy about the resulting flavor. I've got dried cranberries, raisins, and dried cherries on hand. All of them are delicious in this granola.
Let me know if you experiment with this recipe, and how you feel about the results!