Maple Cluster Granola
Other than a few stubborn boxes of Cheerios, store bought cereal has finally been cleared from my pantry shelves. It was a long, hard battle over the course of, oh… a year. I’m not one to rush into these things. What can I say? I have a serious weakness for Peanut Butter Panda Puffs.
My goal is to swap out processed food for the real deal whenever I can do it and my family will eat it. Cereal was the next item on the hit list.
My kids could live off pancakes, but I wanted to find a quick breakfast option to replace the now-absent bowl of Cheerios. No matter how hard I have tried, I cannot seem to maintain any sort of excitement about cooked oatmeal. I want to like it. It seems like such a wholesome way to start the day. In reality, I feel like I’m eating warm glue.
But slightly buttery, sweet crunchy oats mixed with nuts, seeds, and dried fruit? Yes, please.
I found this perfect granola recipe over at the cooking blog, Thoughtful Kitchen, started by my friend Michelle. It produces small crunchy clusters bursting with the perfect balance of sweet (maple syrup, dried fruit) and salty (butter, salt, nuts). Your kitchen will smell amazing while this is baking. Good luck waiting until the granola cools to start sampling.
You can mix and match the nuts and seeds to suit your own preferences. To make this granola as inexpensively as possible, you could definitely omit the dried fruit (I often do) or substitute brown sugar for some of the maple syrup.
If you have never made your own granola before, start today and use this recipe. The steps are simple and straightforward. And, oh man, the results are so superior to anything you will ever dump out of a box. Peanut Butter Panda Puffs included.
Granola is a great recipe to have in your kitchen toolbelt. If you have overnight guests or host a brunch, this is such an easy, versatile item to set out and let everyone help themselves.
You could also bake up several batches, split the granola into decorative bags tied with bright ribbons, and give it as a gift. Add a jar of canned peaches or a funky set of bowls, and you will have friends for life.
A few of my favorite ways to eat granola:
- A dollop of plain yogurt, a drizzle of honey, and a few canned peaches
- A big spoonful each of plain yogurt and applesauce
- A scoop of vanilla yogurt and finely chopped fresh apple
Yum. Now those are breakfast combinations I can get excited about.
Maple Cluster Granola
Recipe adapted from Thoughtful Kitchen
Makes 1 gallon
6 c. old fashioned rolled oats (use gluten-free oats if needed)
3 c. seeds and roughly chopped nuts (any combination of pecans, walnuts, cashews, almonds, pepitas, sunflower or flax seeds)
2 T. butter
1 c. maple syrup (or 1/2 c. maple syrup, 1/2 c. brown sugar, 2 T. water)
2 T. olive oil or coconut oil
1 t. salt
2 T. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. roughly chopped dried fruit
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, maple syrup (and brown sugar & water, if using), oil, and salt. Stir for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and add the vanilla extract.
- Pour the maple syrup mixture over the oats in the large bowl.
- Split the granola between two greased, rimmed baking sheets, lightly packing it down with a spatula. Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes. Rotate pans. Bake for another 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.
- Let the granola cool completely before breaking it up into clusters. Store in an airtight container at room temperature. For a longer shelf life, you can also store granola in the freezer.
Got maple syrup? Amazon can deliver Anderson’s Pure Maple Syrup (at prices competitive to Trader Joe’s and Costco) to your doorstep. This is such a step up from a pancake syrup. So delicious, full flavor and a much more natural sugar. This brand gets great reviews!
Looking for more delicious breakfast options?
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Just made it yesterday and am loving this recipe! I only had oats, sliced almonds and raisins in my pantry, but it turned out wonderful anyway! Thx for the recipe~
I will never buy granola again 😀
Lisa R T says
Looks great. We have our own maple syrup and I am tired of the granola I have been making. I will make this tonight, probably, but it sure would be easier if I could just print the recipe out. Am I missing a “print” button?
I’m turning this out weekly at my house. Kids love it and it makes a nice gift in a pretty bag. Thanks for the great recipe!
Kate from Frugal Living NW says
That’s awesome! We need to make some around here too.
Actually, I l.o.v.e. the pumpkin granola recipe you posted last year! Super yum.
I’m so glad you posted this. I’ll be making it soon. I can’t believe you don’t like oatmeal!
I never liked it growing up. I didn’t know it didn’t have to be like glue as my mom had made it. As a newly wed, I followed the directions on the package and it was good! Who knew – don’t use the instant or quick cook though, as they tend to get gluey more.
Yum! Thanks for sharing..this looks amazing.
Any tips on places to get maple syrup for a good price… it is spendy!
Amazon (link above) or Trader Joe’s are your best bets. Grade B is spendy, but more nutritious. I know Costco sells Grade A — it is a bit cheaper, but may not result in the most optimal flavor for this recipe.
Molly, I second what Angela has said. I cook with Grade B all the time and love the flavor. Trader Joe’s is my standard place but Amazon will lower their prices this season so it’s best to buy a few then. We treat is like gold around here. If anyone wants a ton of syrup on their pancakes they better bring their own 😉
How long will this granola last? I would rather not freeze it, but I also do not want to make too much and have it spoil.
Well, I had some of this the last time Emily made it and I’m tellin’ you, it won’t last long enough to spoil. I kept yelling, “This is so good.” At a church function.
This recipe could easily be halved if you’re nervous about eating it in time.
I ate off a big batch for breakfast over the course of a month. It doesn’t necessarily spoil, but it did get softer toward the end of the month. (I also wasn’t keeping it in an airtight container so that probably didn’t help.)
If you want an oatmeal that doesn’t get slimy or taste like glue, you should try Snoqualmie Falls Oatmeal. I never liked oatmeal until I had theirs. So good with blueberries in it! I realize it’s not organic, but so much better than any other I’ve had.