I sat here staring at my screen for a solid hour trying to figure out what to say about granola. I still haven’t hit on anything earth shattering. Granola is just plain good, okay? It’s crunchy, it’s clumpy, it’s kind of sweet but just a little bit salty, and the flavors are literally endless. You can make it healthy, or you can turn it into a dessert; you can pair it with milk, yogurt, frozen yogurt, ice cream, pudding… you catch my drift, right? It’s versatile.
What I’m really trying to say is this: granola is underrated. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good bacon-egg-and-cheese as much as the next person (especially the morning after a late night out…), but I feel significantly less guilty with a belly full of granola. It has just the right amount of carbyness (yes, that’s a real word) and a little kick of protein, so it keeps me feeling full until lunch rolls around. Another reason to love granola: it’s. so. easy. Seriously, I spent 10 minutes mixing everything together and came out with 10 mornings of custom granola. It’s way cheaper than the $6, 5 serving “gourmet” granola the supermarket carries, it only has stuff I like in it, and I have total control over the sweetness – and source of sweetness. Okay, enough, you either like granola or you don’t. I hope it’s the former, and I hope you enjoy this recipe!
Almond-Currant Granola Recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40-50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Yield: About 5 cups (10 half-cup servings)
2 1/4 C rolled oats (gluten free or regular)
1 1/2 C sliced almonds
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 C honey
1/4 C canola oil
1/4 tsp kosher salt (or a pinch or two of table salt)
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 C dried currants
- Preheat your oven to 250°
- Combine almonds, oats, and cinnamon in a large bowl
- Combine honey, oil, salt, and vanilla in a small bowl and whisk to combine. (Tip: fill your half-cup measure halfway with oil to get the quarter cup required. Swirl the oil around so it coats the inside of the cup completely, then dump it in the bowl. Now measure your honey in the lubed-up half-cup, and marvel at how easily it pours into the bowl. No scraping required!)
- Dump the wet into the dry and stir until the oats and nuts are completely covered in the honey and oil mixture. Yes, it’s enough liquid, just keep mixing.
- Throw it all on a rimmed baking sheet, flatten to one even layer, and put it in the oven for 30 minutes. Most recipes tell you to toss the granola every 15 minutes, but I found this to be unnecessary in my oven. If your oven has hot spots, you should toss it around and re-flatten into an even layer. If you’re not sure if your oven has hot spots, err on the side of caution and toss. Make sure you remove the pan and close the oven door while you do this (i.e. no lazy pulling the rack half out of the oven and half-heartedly stirring with a spatula. Come on, guys.)
- Crank the heat up to 325°. This time, you need to take the granola out and toss it around before you get it nice and brown.
- Leave the granola in at the higher temperature for 10-15 minutes, or until browned to your taste. I like my granola pretty GBD (that’s golden-brown-and-delicious for anyone who doesn’t watch Alton Brown as religiously as I do)
- This is the most important part. Remove from the oven, and press with your spatula the way you used to press your burgers to make them sizzle more (but stopped doing because it ruins the meat, right?). The clump and crunch set in while the granola is cooling, so you want to press the oats and nuts together as much as possible to promote the clumpy-crunchy-goodness. Let it sit for about 10 minutes, or until cool enough to touch
- Gently break the granola into small clumps, add the currants, and toss to combine. I do this with my hands directly on the sheet pan, but you’re welcome to use a spatula and/or toss in a bowl.
For this recipe, I chose almonds because they were the cheapest nut in the market. The first time I made this, I actually found whole Marcona almonds and chopped them up. They were really tasty, but I did prefer the ease and consistent texture and size of the sliced ones I used this time. I was originally looking for dried cranberries (I love the tartness they bring), but when I saw the local dried currants and the fact that they were also the most cost-effective dried fruit on the shelf, I changed my plan. As I mentioned earlier, this recipe is really versatile, so please use it as a base for your own creativity! You could try adding flax seeds, if that’s your thing. You could make it sweeter by swapping out half the honey for sugar – and if you used brown sugar, you could use pecans instead of almonds, and apples instead of currants, and you’d have an apple pie granola. the possibilities are truly endless, so please experiment and let me know what flavor combos you come up with!