No matter what time I get up in the morning, I wake up hungry. I roll out of bed and I want my coffee (strong, just sugar, no cream) and something filling to start my day. Often, the filling part is homemade granola.
Granola for Breakfast
I’ve made granola for years. In fact, it was one of the first recipes I posted on my original A Cook and Her Books site in 2010. It’s a boilerplate recipe that I picked up from a cookbook and have over the years, made my own.
My original recipe combines a warm syrup of honey, maple syrup and vegetable oil poured over a mixture of rolled oats (or quick oats, in a pinch), sliced almonds, more chopped nuts like walnuts or pecans, and shredded unsweetened coconut. I bake it for 30 minutes, turning the mixture over a few times with a spatula so that each piece gets nutty and toasty brown. The granola keeps for about a week in a glass canning jar next to the coffee maker. We eat it straight out of the jar, and also in yogurt parfaits, my fancy way of saying a bowl of Greek yogurt (plain or vanilla lowfat) topped with granola and fresh fruit like (my favorite!) blueberries.
Side note: You remember Donkey in “Shrek,” talking about how humans have layers like onions and, even better, parfaits. “Parfaits may be the most delicious thing on the whole damn planet.”
A New Granola Recipe
My go-to granola recipe made me happy and kept morning hunger at bay for more than a decade, until a few months ago, I discovered orange-scented granola.
I can only guess that an algorithm sensed “she wakes up hungry” and served up a granola recipe called Laurent Tourondel’s Favorite Granola on the NYT Cooking app. Tourondel’s a famous NY chef with a chain of restaurants and a seriously savvy take on granola. The NYT recipe uses the familiar honey-maple syrup-canola oil mixture poured over a combination of oats and nuts. His recipe mixes up the grains with the addition of nubby steel-cut oats, and big surprise, corn flakes. The syrup is flavored with orange zest, to my mind, second only to coffee as the very essence of smells I want to wake up to.
I took inspiration from the NYT recipe, but streamlined the process and substituted vanilla extract for the very cheffy touch of a vanilla bean-infused syrup. I hope you enjoy this granola recipe.
Granola with Orange Zest and Almonds Recipe
This recipe is based on Lauren Tourendel’s Favorite Granola at New York Times Cooking. This is a streamlined version of the NYT recipe. The instructions are very cheffy, including infusing the syrup with a vanilla bean. I save time, effort and dollars by using vanilla extract.
I save even more time by mixing the dry ingredients while the liquid ingredients come to a boil on the stovetop. If you’re a mise en place type of cook with time on your hands, you will probably be more comfortable assembling the dry ingredients first and then starting the syrup. And that’s okay. Just be you.
I consider parchment paper essential to proper homemade granola (among other uses). I buy a big box of the half sheet size from King Arthur Flour and keep them in my pantry. The sheets are non-stick, pre-cut to size and reusable. (Not a sponsored post, I just happen to like King Arthur Flour products).
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup neutral oil like canola
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Grated zest of 2 oranges
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup steel-cut oats
2 cups corn flakes
1 cup sliced almonds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Heat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare a sheet pan with a parchment paper liner.
- In a saucepan, combine honey, maple syrup and oil over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Remove pan from heat, add vanilla extract and orange zest and let cool for a few minutes.
- While syrup is heating, take out a large metal mixing bowl and add rolled oats, steel-cut oats, corn flakes, almonds, salt and cinnamon. Stir together to combine.
- Pour slightly cooled syrup over the dry ingredients. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to coat the oat and cereal mixture with the syrup.
- Spread the granola in an even layer on the parchment paper-lined sheet pan.
- Bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 to 20 minutes or until it’s a satisfactory, toasty golden brown. Halfway through the cooking time, pull the sheet pan out of the oven and with a spatula, turn the mixture over so that the pieces get uniformly browned.
- Place sheet pan on a wire rack and cool. Store granola in an airtight container like a canning jar. Plastic’s okay, too. Will keep at room temperature for up to a week.
If you like this granola recipe, check out my gluten-free strawberry jam bars recipe.