The recipe for this granola originated out of Fine Cooking magazine. I’ve been making it for years, tweaking it to my tastes until I came up with the recipe I use to make it at least once a month. I like to give it out in little containers, and I’ve been told on more than one occasion that it’s like crack. I have to agree – my favorite way to eat it is straight up, no milk or other adornments.
The only issue with this recipe is the inclusion of nonfat dry milk powder and honey. It prevents me from giving it away to vegan friends. The honey is an easy fix – just swap it out with all agave nectar. The milk powder is a different story. Lucky for me, I sat next to Alison Bailey Vercruysse of 18 Rabbits (great products by the way) at a lunch recently, and we got talking granola. Alison said she thought I could just eliminate the milk powder completely. It’s worth a try. This time, I decided to try a direct substitution using DariFree. It’s a powdered milk substitute, potato based and low in protein and sugar and gluten-free. It’s also got a longish list of ingredients so I have a healthy amount of skepticism. Another option would be soy milk powder, but I don’t like soy milk so I haven’t tried it yet.
Mixing up the ingredients was uneventful. Nuts, oats, etc. in one bowl, liquids and DariFree in another to form a slurry. I mixed them all together and it looked okay, pretty normal.
I opened the oven after 15 minutes to stir the granola and rotate the trays, and was treated to the sight of my lovely granola, all melted together in a giant granola sheet. No lovely clumps like normal. I’m sure it’s the DariFree, and I was so disappointed. I stirred it up the best I could anyway, and put it back in the oven to finish cooking. When it was done, it was as much of a melted mess as it was in the first place. I wasn’t sure what to do, so I just set it out as-is to cool. Maybe I’d end up with two giant sheet pan-sized chunks of granola? And if it melted like that, who knows how it tastes.
After some time cooling in the pan, the sheets of granola started to harden. Here is where I was grateful I used Silpat liners – the granola came right up, and I was able to break it up into nice chunks before stirring in the dried blueberries. It ended up tasting really good, different than my regular recipe, but good. Lisa got a care package to take with her, and I’ve been enjoying it as a snack. Larry isn’t sure he likes the change, but he’s been eating it in the morning with milk (the irony… covering vegan granola with cow milk!).
Here’s the recipe, vegan-ized. The original (with my tweaks) is here.
Vegan Honey Almond Granola
Yields 9 to 10 cups
4 cups old-fashioned (not quick-cooking) rolled oats, extra thick cut preferred
1 cup oat bran
1/4 cup golden flaxseed meal
2 cups whole almonds, coarsely chopped
Â¾ cup grape seed oil
Â¾ cup + 2 Tbsp. agave nectar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Â½ tsp pure almond extract
1 cup DariFree or soy milk powder
Â½ tsp table salt
8 oz. dried blueberries (wild preferred, I use Trader Joe’s Dried Wild Blueberries).
Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 350Â°F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with silicon mats.
In a large bowl, mix the oats, oat bran, flaxseed meal and almonds. In a small bowl, whisk oil, agave nectar, vanilla, almond extract, DariFree and salt. Pour mixture (it will be gloppy) over the oats and stir with your hands or a spoon, until well combined.
Divide mixture between the two oiled baking sheets and spread in an even layer. Bake for 15 minutes, stir, and switch the positions of the pans. Bake until the oats are golden brown and the nuts look well toasted, another 10 to 15 minutes; don’t overcook. Let cool completely in the pans. The oats may feel soft but will crisp as they cool. When completely cool, break the granola into chunks and stir in the dried blueberries.
- Honey Almond Granola (Fine Cooking #75, Holidays Winter 2006, p. 34)