My family lives on homemade granola, breakfast, snack time, anytime. No joke, we go through about 5 pounds a week. So when I was recently asked to make treats for a bake sale, I decided to transform my granola into a yummy trail mix. This is surprisingly easy to do, a little extra sugar, a little extra salt and lots of crunchy and chewy mix-ins like whole salted almonds, yogurt covered raisins, dried tart cherries and milk chocolate.
Of course, you could add whatever you like. Just strive for a balance between the sweet, salty, crunchy and chewy and you will come up with your own favorite mix. Anywho, this is what I did:
Granola, Cherry, Chocolate Almond Trail Mix
Makes about 15 cups
- 9 cups (800 grams) old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 generous cup (165 grams) roasted salted almonds
- 1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon (350 grams) dark brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup water
- 4 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 tablespoons vegetable (I use canola) oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2/3 cup milk chocolate chips
- 2/3 cup yogurt covered raisins
- 2/3 cup dried cherries
Preheat the oven to 285 degrees F.
Place the oats and almonds in a large bowl.
In a separate large microwave-safe bowl with high sides (I use a 8-cup pyrex), combine the dark brown sugar and water. Microwave for 3.5 to 5 minutes or until sugar boiling and sugar is dissolved. Watch it carefully because it will boil up. Cooking time will vary depending on your microwave, but mine takes 3 minutes and 45 seconds every time.
Add the kosher salt, vanilla and vegetable oil. Stir to combine.
Then add the wet ingredients to the oats and almonds (make sure to get any kosher salt that may stick to the bowl) and stir until thoroughly coated and starting to clump. At least one minute.
Spread immediately (it should still be quite warm) on two parchment lined half-sheet (or other heavy gauge) rimmed baking pan and bake at 285 degrees F for 50 minutes. NOTE: The spreading and baking immediately turns out to be kind of important. If you don’t, the granola is a little too dry after it is baked. Still very edible, but not as good.
Check and rotate the pans half-way through the baking process. Depending on hot spots in your oven or your pans, this may want to burn. If it looks like it’s close to done after 30 minutes, turn the oven temp down some and check every 10 minutes until done. Mine takes about 50 minutes every time.
Remove the pans from the oven and immediately transfer the cooked oats on the parchment to the counter or cooling racks. Let cool completely.
Once cool, add the fruit and chocolate and mix to combine.
I scooped one cup portions into cellophane bags and tied them with a little ribbon. Awwww.