Monday, October 1, 2012

Recipe for French Vanilla Almond Granola

Seriously, this granola tastes just like what you buy from the store! Slow baking and lots of vanilla make this granola crunchy and delicious.

french vanilla almond granola

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.

french vanilla almond granola

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
french vanilla almond granola
makes 12 1/2-cup servings

Ingredients

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

Directions
  1. Heat oven to 200 degrees F. Line a large, rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl mix together the oats and almonds.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
* I have found that when I increase the recipe, it requires more baking time. When I double the recipe, I have to bake it for almost 3 hours total.

18 comments:

  1. I am definitely trying this one! Thanks, Dianne:)

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  2. Do you think I could use honey instead of sugar?

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    1. You could use honey, but I've found that it adds its own flavor and detracts from the vanilla taste. If you do use honey, you probably shouldn't bake it as long since it is thicker.

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  3. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I've been looking for a recipe for the French Vanilla granola you can buy in bulk at natural grocery store, and this is it! I tried a couple of others, and one used honey, so it just tasted like honey, and the other was good, but it wasn't this good. Since we don't live near Whole Foods any more, and I hated paying $8 a pound anyway, I am so happy that I can make it at home! I will probably add more vanilla next time (mine may just be a little weak). I am so looking forward to breakfast tomorrow!

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    1. Thanks Jenny, I'm so glad you like it!

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    2. Generally oats are not gluten-free because of cross-contamination, but you can find certified gluten-free oats by Bob's Red Mill. However, some people may still have issues with oats because of a gluten-like protein that it contains. I can't digest oats very well, so I don't eat this recipe myself. I make it for my husband, who loves it!

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  4. Thank You so much for sharing this with us. I have now made this several time and just can't get enough. I have tweeked it a little to include additional Vanilla Extract and also doubled the amount of Almonds!!
    I have passed it on to many of my Friends and they all love it. Even my Boss likes it and She hates oatmeal.

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    1. Thank you Rosemarie! I'm glad you and your friends are enjoying the granola.

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  5. Is there a reason you chose canola oil over other oils? Also why do you specify that the oats not be quick?

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    1. Hi Jeanie, I chose canola oil for its neutral flavor, but you could use any other neutral oil, such as grapeseed or extra light olive. In my experience, the rolled oats clump together better than quick oats.

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    2. Thank you,

      This recipe is amaaaazing.

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  6. Have you tried infusing the vanilla in by using vanilla beans, letting them sit in the oat mixture for a few days before actually making the granola?

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    1. No, I haven't tried that. Sounds like a neat experiment to try!

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    2. I was just thinking of ways to keep or enrich the flavor with the end goal of lessening the sugar... what is the minimum amount of sugar you would recommend?

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    3. I think I have tried using 1/3 cup sugar. It tasted great, but it didn't clump into clusters as well. So if you don't mind have "clumpless" granola, go for it! :)

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  7. I made this and I'm SO happy about it since it's SUPER easy, AND my husband likes it! Yay!

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