Chunky Granola

Note from Cooks Illustrated: Chopping the almonds by hand is the first choice for superior texture and crunch. If you prefer not to hand chop, substitute an equal quantity of slivered or sliced almonds. (A food processor does a lousy job of chopping whole nuts evenly.) Use a single type of your favorite dried fruit or a combination. Do not use quick oats.

INGREDIENTS

  • ⅓ cup maple syrup
  • 2⅓ ounces light brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 5 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 10 ounces raw almonds chopped coarse
  • 2 cups raisins or other dried fruit chopped

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 325°F. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in large bowl. Whisk in oil. Fold in oats and almonds until thoroughly coated.
  3. Transfer oat mixture to prepared baking sheet and spread across sheet into thin, even layer (about 3/8 inch thick). Using stiff metal spatula, compress oat mixture until very compact. Bake until lightly browned, 40 to 45 minutes, rotating pan once halfway through baking. Remove granola from oven and cool on wire rack to room temperature, 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 2 weeks.)