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The Best No-Stir Granola

Homemade granola is a delicious option for breakfast or for snacking, but it can take quite a while to go from having a bowl of pale, uncooked oats to golden, crispy granola. Most granola recipes call for granola to be baked for a long period of time with the oven set to a low temperature, then they ask you to keep stirring the granola on a regular basis as it cooks. This technique is not a bad one and it does produce well-toasted granola with lovely, crunchy clusters of oats, but it also means that you can’t walk away from the kitchen while you’re making it. This No Stir Granola recipes is one of my new favorites and doesn’t require any additional labor once you’ve put your pan in the oven.

The granola starts out with a base of oats and puffed rice cereal, which is sweetened with maple syrup and brown sugar and moistened with vegetable oil. I like to add a little bit of puffed rice cereal into my granolas because it gives them a slightly lighter, crunchier texture, while the oats give it more substance. I seasoned the mixture with cinnamon, cloves, vanilla and salt – and that salt is a key ingredient that allows the different flavors in the mixture, from oats to nuts, to really shine. In this batch I used a mixture of pecans and walnuts, however you can mix and match different nuts. Any nuts you do use should be untoasted, as they will toast in the oven along with the oats.

The mixture is poured into a rimmed baking pan (a half-sheet pan or jelly roll pan) that is either nonstick or lined with parchment paper and pressed into a thin, even layer. That thin layer bakes up to be one deliciously crispy, crumbly granola bar, which can be broken up into chunks as you take it out of the pan. I usually make mine into a mixture of large chunks and small ones, as I like the large chunks for snacking and the smaller pieces as topping for yogurt or fruit. Stored in an airtight container, this tasty granola will keep for at least two weeks after baking – if you have any left at that point!

The Best No-Stir Cinnamon Granola
4 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup puffed rice cereal
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup whole almonds, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup walnut halves, coarsely chopped
1 cup dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, etc).

Preheat oven to 325F. Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, mixing with a spatula until all ingredients are well-combined. Pour into prepared pan and pack into an even layer.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, until mixture is golden brown and crisp.
Allow to cool in the pan, then break into pieces. If desired, stir in 1 cup dried fruit.

Serves 10-12; Makes about 6 cups.