How Can I Create Clusters In My Granola?

Good Questions

Q: I love granola that comes in big, crunchy clumps. So when I purchased some granola at a fancy gourmet market yesterday, I was so disappointed to discover that it is just coated oats mixed in with other ingredients--no clumps!

Is there a way I can doctor up this store-bought granola to turn into the wonderful chunky granola I crave? — Carolyn

Editor: Carolyn, we love big clusters of granola, too! We have a few ideas on how to doctor your mix to get it just the way we like it.

First, does it look like most of the ingredients have a coating on them? If so, the reason that your granola isn't clumpy already is because it was deliberately stirred and broken apart while it was baking, and it might be possible to make it re-clump! Try putting a scoop in the microwave and heating it in 30 second bursts on high. If it starts to get sticky, you're golden. Let it cool and the granola should stick together. Then just break it apart into clumps with your fingers!

If it doesn't look like the granola ingredients are all coated or if that coating seems really thin, you can essentially use this mix as a base to make your own granola. For every 6 cups or so of oat mix, whisk together 1/4 cup of canola or olive oil, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and 1/4 cup honey in a small bowl. Toss this syrup together with the oat mix, spread it out on a sheet pan, and bake at 300° for 45-60 minutes, until the mix is crispy. Stir occasionally, but delicately - you don't want to break up the granola too much, after all!

We've also noticed that clumpier granola seems to have a higher percentage of oats to other ingredients. Oats stick to each other much easier and more firmly than they do with other, heavier ingredients. If it seems like your mix doesn't have a lot of oats, try adding another cup or two of rolled oats before cooking.

Give one of these methods a try and let us know how it works out! Anyone else have ideas for getting granola to re-cluster?

Related: Recipe: Crunchy Granola Bars

(Image: Flickr member sleepyneko licensed under Creative Commons)

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