An Easy Trick for Crispier Granola
Homemade granola is one of those things that I am constantly rediscovering. It's not revolutionary, but I will go months without making it and then suddenly remember how tasty and delicious it is to have your own supply of homemade granola. When it gets hot out, granola and yogurt and fruit become part of my meal routine, sometimes for breakfast, but sometimes, also, for dinner.
My favorite parts of granola are those extra-browned, super-crispy clumps of oats that stick slightly to the sheet pan, and until now, I couldn't figure out how to make more of them. Until I ran into a clever trick, courtesy of Julia Turshen's new cookbook Simply Julia for getting granola as crispy as you want it: add egg whites.
Per Turshen, for every three cups of rolled oats you want to transform into granola, add a ¼ cup each maple syrup and olive oil. Then whip two egg whites until they're very frothy but still soft peaked–you're not making meringue so you don't need to worry about them holding a shape. Just mix the frothy whites into your oats, adding whatever other spices, nuts, or grains you wish, spread onto a sheet pan, and bake at 400 degrees for half an hour, stirring every ten minutes. As the granola cools it will crisp up, producing lots of those lovely browned clumps that I root around for in my granola mixtures.
Turshen also has the extra smart trick of adding a flavoring extract to the egg whites, depending on what flavor profile you want. A splash of vanilla extract or almond extract lifts the whole mixture up, and adds that little extra something. You can also mix in dried fruit once the granola has cooled down. (Adding it in after ensures that it doesn't burn in the oven, thanks to the sugars in the dried fruit.) It'll store well at room temperature in a reusable airtight container or a plastic storage bag for a week, if you can make it that long without eating handfuls of it as a snack.