To preface this post, Yale Bake Shop Granola is hands down the best granola known to man. It has brown sugar, it has salt, it has raisins, it has large chunks that could pass as granola bars on their own if you take the time to sift through it. If you’ve ever seen me in the Calhoun dining hall, you know that I can eat the stuff by the bucketful. It tastes good in alone, in milk, mixed with milk and peanut butter and small pieces of banana and chocolate sauce… Unfortunately, I graduated already and no longer have access to unending amounts of the stuff. So this is my attempt to find a substitute, but (maybe?) even better.
First, mix the oats, cinnamon, and almonds in a large bowl. Make sure you are using regular oats (old-fashioned), because instant oats are more processed and won’t hold up as well when you bake them in the oven. Also, you can use any kind of nut you want. Usually I use sliced almonds, but the whole almonds are good if you want an extra crunch.
Then, add the molasses, honey, water, and oil to a medium saucepan. Heat it over medium-high heat until it starts boiling. Make sure you keep an eye on it and remove it from the heat as soon as it starts to boil, because the molasses will start to burn and smell awful if you don’t.
How cool does that swirl look? Once you can do that with the foam, it’s probably time to take it off the heat, though. Burnt molasses smells really, really terrible. Trust me, you don’t want that to happen to your kitchen.
Then, add the liquid to the bowl with the oats and mix until all of the oats are coated.
Spray a jelly roll pan (those are the cookie sheets with the sides) with cooking spray and spread the mixture evenly across it.
Bake at 325°F for anywhere from 30 to 40 minutes depending on your oven. Take out the pan every 10 minutes to stir the granola around, preventing it from burning anywhere that was spread to thin. Granola is really touchy when it comes to baking time, so don’t forget about it and think that 40 minutes will be fine. It takes about 3 seconds to go from wonderfully golden brown and crunchy to blackened ash.
OK that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but really, keep an eye on it. You may even want to pull it out a little before it’s super crunchy since it will continue to harden as it cools. You’re looking for a golden brown color, a little darker than before, and maybe a couple places that are darker.
Put the granola into a bowl and add the raisins and dates, mixing until combined. Pour the finished granola back onto the baking sheet to cool completely before storing in airtight containers.
A note on dates: dried, pitted dates are probably the most underrated dried fruit ever. They are always impossible to find at the grocery store while things like prunes (which are disgusting) are abundant. Dried, pitted dates taste like little balls of sugar, but not in the weird way that dried mango and pineapple bits taste fake. I’ve never actually tasted a date in its original, plump-with-pit form, but that’s mostly because I’m sure it won’t compare to the dried variety. Let me know in the comments if I’m wrong about that.
Anyways, this granola does not taste much like Yale Bake Shop Granola, but it is pretty excellent. Rather than the brown sugar flavor, the molasses and honey make it a little less sweet and granola-bar like. However, the addition of dates drastically improves the snack-ability of it, which is both dangerous and awesome. And, since I adapted it from a Cooking Light recipe, you can even convince yourself it’s not quite so bad for you as other varieties of granola.
Fruit n Nut Granola
- 4 cups regular oats
- 1/2 cup almonds
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/3 cup molasses
- 1/3 cup water
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 cup chopped, pitted dates
- 1 cup raisins
- Combine oats, almonds, and cinnamon in a large bowl, stirring well.
- Combine honey, molasses, water and oil in a medium saucepan.
- Bring to boil and remove from heat.
- Pour over oat mixture, stirring well until coated.
- Spray jelly-roll pan with cooking spray and spread mixture evenly onto pan.
- Bake at 325°F for 30 to 40 minutes, until lightly toasted. Remove from oven and stir granola every 10 minutes to ensure even baking.
- Once toasted, remove from oven and stir in dates and raisins. Cool completely and store in airtight container.