It’s now my second week of school and I am very much back into the swing of things in the classroom. I know all of my students’ names, have some of their writing and artwork up on the walls, and am getting to know what makes each of them a unique and special individual. I have a wonderful group of third graders this year, which makes it (a little bit) easier to leave my own two sweet peas in the morning.
Early wake-ups are deserving of a healthy and delicious breakfast, but I can’t afford to spend any more minutes than necessary in the kitchen. (4:45a.m. is early enough for me to wake up, thank you.) I still need a good breakfast to fuel me through my morning, though, and this granola is the perfect solution. It’s made with heart-healthy oats and wheat germ, which is full of protein, fiber, omegas, and other important nutrients. I usually eat my granola with milk or yogurt, which both provide protein in addition to the walnuts and pecans in the granola.
Never mind all that healthy talk, though. What you really need to know about this granola is that it is delicious. Once you make homemade granola, you realize that it cannot compare to store-bought. I love this granola so much that I stayed up a little later than I should have one night last week, the night before my first day of school, to make a double batch of this. You’ll have to decide for yourself whether being compelled to stay up later than you should because you must have homemade granola for your weekday breakfasts is a good thing or a bad thing. Me? I think this granola is a very good thing. The big clusters and subtly sweet maple flavor of this granola make breakfast something to look forward to.
Big Cluster Maple Granola
Makes about 7 cups
- 4 cups (320 grams) old-fashioned rolled oats
- ½ cup (50 grams) walnuts, coarsely chopped
- ½ cup (50 grams) pecans, coarsely chopped
- ¼ cup (25 grams) toasted wheat germ
- ½ tsp. cinnamon
- ½ tsp. coarse salt
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- ½ cup pure maple syrup
- 1 large egg white*
- Up to 1 ½ cups (215 grams) dried cherries or another dried fruit, if desired
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Combine oats, walnuts, pecans, wheat germ, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl and stir to mix well. Add olive oil and maple syrup; stir until evenly distributed.
- In a small bowl, whisk the egg white until frothy. Stir the egg white into the granola mixture, distributing it throughout.
- Spread granola in a single layer on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes. About halfway through the baking time, use a large spatula to turn over sections of the granola carefully, breaking them up as little as possible. Rotate the pan and continue baking until the granola is evenly browned and feels dry to the touch. Place the pan on a cooling rack and allow it to cool completely. Once completely cool, break up granola into clusters. Sprinkle in dried fruit.
- Store granola in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. You can also freeze the granola for longer storage, if you wish.
Source: Adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.