I absolutely love the recipe I'm going to share with you today. Some of my recipes are good and some are just "meh," but this one - this one is a triumph! My husband loves to eat granola for breakfast, usually my homemade granola, but a while ago I was feeling lazy and bought some from the store. It was Sweet Home Farm French Vanilla with Almonds Granola. We only had it for a limited time in our natural foods department, but it was so good, so cheap and all natural. Well, we got hooked, and unfortunately, we don't carry it anymore (oh, how I wish we would again!), so I had to come up with my own recipe.
I knew there had to be lots of vanilla, sliced almonds and oats. The sweetener was going to be the challenge. I tried honey, but the flavor of the honey overpowered the vanilla and I wanted lots of vanilla flavor. My thoughts went to just regular granulated sugar, the most neutral of all sweeteners. But how would I incorporate granulated sugar into the granola? Simple syrup! I was introduced to simple syrup last year. I made some for cocktails, including a cinnamon one for Apple Crisp Martinis. So I basically made a vanilla syrup.
The problem now was baking the granola. I tried baking at my normal temperature and time for granola, but the granola was getting too browned before drying out. The solution is slow-baking. Baking at a low temperature for a couple of hours. I discovered that this method makes the granola even more crunchy. The vanilla simple syrup does an amazing job of infusing the granola with tons of vanilla flavor. Plus, it makes your house smell amazing while it's baking.
French Vanilla Almond Granola
3 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick)
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup granulated cane sugar (you can use less sugar if you like)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup organic canola oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Heat oven to 200 degrees F. Line a large, rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl mix together the oats and almonds.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, stir the sugar and salt into the water. Cook and stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. Stir in canola oil and vanilla. Pour into the oat and almond mixture and stir until thoroughly combined.
- Spread mixture out on the lined cookie sheet and bake for 2 hours, or until dry.* Do not stir! Remove from oven and let cool before breaking apart into chunks. Store in an air-tight container.