Almond Granola with Dried Fruit

(Published March 1, 2012. From Cook's Illustrated.)

  • 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 raw almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 2 c raisins or other dried fruit, chopped

Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat over to 325. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla and salt in large bowl.  Whisk in oil.  Fold in oats and almonds until thoroughly coated.

Transfer mixture to prepared baking sheet and spread across into even layer (3/8" thick). Using stiff metal spatula, compress oat mixture until very compact.  Bake until lightly browned, 40-45 minutes, rotating pan once halfway through.  Remove from oven and cool on rack to room temp, about 1 hour.  Break cooled granola into pieces of desired size.  Stir in dried fruit.  (Granola can be stored in airtight container for up to two weeks).

(Cook's note - I usually substitute coconut oil and pecans.  Watch closely, as the pecans burn faster than almonds. If you don't add the fruit, it seems the granola keeps longer than two weeks.)