So here’s the thing. I love munching on granola. Peanut Butter Cup Granola, Nutella Granola, PB&J Granola, the list goes on. Anyhoo. What I love MOST about
eating stuffing my face with the sweet, yet seemingly healthy oaty goodness are the huge CHUNKS. Those big crunchy clusters that take up an entire spoon? Ohhhhh yeah. They’re my fave!
When I’m having my usual bowl of granola, those big chunks are the first to go. The rest of the tiny granola crumbies just sink to the bottom of my bowl and then I whine…. and then I grab more clusters from the batch and throw them back on top. And then I’ve eaten all of the big chunks from my granola recipe. And then I have to make more. It’s a vicious cycle, I tell ya.
So in order to solve all of my granola woes, I decided to bake up a granola CLUSTER recipe chock full of my beloved big chunks. (that totally sounds just…wrong… but stay with me here.) By adding in some whole wheat flour + almond flour, I was able to bind the oats together more. I threw in some slivered almonds for texture and some sticky stuff: maple syrup, brown sugar, + vanilla extract. And bonus! They are completely vegan.
I baked the oat mixture as if they were regular granola bars – pressing down in a baking dish rather than spreading on a baking sheet – and broke the bars into clusters as they were finishing in the oven. 50 minutes later the clusters were crispy and made my kitchen smell like a bakery.
These clusters are AMAZING with some almond milk or regular milk. Or sprinkled on top of vanilla greek yogurt. Try them in a parfait with sliced strawberries and more slivered almonds. Or just pull a Sally and munch on them plain all day long. Either way, you will LOVE the big chunky clusters. The BEST part of granola.
Maple Almond Granola Clusters
For those of you who love the clusters!
- 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1/2 cup almond flour (I made my own. See below for easy instructions.)
- 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup slivered almonds
- 1/3 vegetable oil (or melted coconut oil)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar (I used dark, but light brown sugar will work too)
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 300F. Line 9x13 baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
In large bowl, toss together oats, almond flour, whole wheat flour, slivered almonds and salt. Pour canola oil evenly over the mixture and stir. Set aside.
Combine maple syrup and dark brown sugar in a medium pot over medium heat. Stir until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and add vanilla extract. Pour sugar/maple mixture over oat mixture and stir until everything begins to come together. Break up any lumps and make sure the wet ingredients are evenly coating the dry. The granola will be VERY sticky.
Press into prepared baking pan, flattening the top so it is perfectly even. I used the bottom of a spatula (sprayed with nonstick spray) to flatten down the top.
Bake for 40 minutes, rotating the pan every 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for a couple minutes. Cut into squares and break up into smaller cluster pieces - the granola will be hot so be careful! Throw the clusters back into the baking pan and bake the clusters for 10 more minutes at 300F.
Remove from oven and let the clusters cool completely - make sure they are cooling uncovered because the air will help give them a nice crunch. Enjoy!
Homemade Almond Flour
- Pour 1/2 cup almonds into a food processor or blender. Pulse a few times until they are finely ground. Do not let it grind for too long or the nuts will release too much of their oils and get pasty (which is what you would want if you were making almond butter.)
- Once the nuts are ground, pass them through a sifter. Any larger pieces that didn't make it through can be ground up again.
*1/2 cup of almonds = a little more than 1/2 cup almond flour. Any leftover flour can be eaten - I threw mine into a smoothie!
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While my Peanut Butter & Jelly Granola doesn’t have just as many clusters, it is chock full of huge nuts, dried fruits, and a ton of peanut butter + jelly. This is by far, my FAVORITE homemade granola.
With its giant dried apple pieces, crunchy pecans and loads of cinnamon, my Apple Cinnamon Granola is an easy favorite of mine. I love cinnamon and apples together!
If you like the maple flavor of the clusters from today, you will FLIP for my Maple Pecan Pie Granola. Seriously…. tastes like pie… and is healthy…and vegan…and has a SUPER short ingredient list. Love that!
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