How To Make Your Own “Highly Addicting” Granola Clusters.

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It all started with a typical weekend shopping trip to Costco where I discovered  a delicious and highly ADDICTING snack called Granola Clusters. You can find them in the Bakery section where they are sitting innocently on a table just waiting for unsuspecting passersby to put them in their cart. Little do these people know what will become of them once they decide to let these little morsels into their lives!  Suddenly they become like Gollum in Lord of the Rings with their “PRECIOUS” granola snack!

I admit, I succumbed to the lure of the clusters and became ensnared in its’ powerful allure!  I became obsessed with the idea of replicating them in my own kitchen so I wouldn’t risk running out! (After all, Costco is a good 30 minute drive from my house! What if I ran out and I couldn’t get to Costco right away? I couldn’t take that chance!) So I spent a good deal of the afternoon and evening on Monday trying to create my own version of this evil concoction.

The fact that I couldn’t find any recipes online that were even remotely like this stuff should have been a warning….THIS STUFF SHOULD NOT BE REPLICATED! It’s MUCH too addicting and in the wrong hands (say a former addict perhaps??!!) it could be dangerous. But I ignored all the red flags and carelessly pressed on in my desperate pursuit to make my own “homemade” crack….errrr….CLUSTERS!

Eventually I found a recipe that claimed to result in “granola clusters”….but maybe I was too far gone in my addiction at this point, because the recipe did NOT turn out how I had hoped! I wasn’t looking for subtle clustering of the granola….I needed BIG, CHUNKY, CHEWY, SATISFYING clusters! Thankfully, I still had enough “presence of mind” to make some changes to the recipe that resulted in what *I* think is actually BETTER than the original! Boy oh boy…did I luck out on this one! ;-)

Of course it still should have a warning label…because it’s still as addicting as SIN….but at least it’s HOMEMADE! ;-)  (And yes, I AM eating it like candy as I type this post! Don’t judge me!)  ;-)

Granola Clusters

Adapted from The Traveler’s Lunchbox

Ingredients

  • 1 lb quick oats (I used gluten-free)
  • 3 cups coarsely chopped raw nuts and/or seeds (I used 2 cups whole, roasted almonds and 1 cup sunflower seeds)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups dried fruit (I used 1 cup raisins, 1 cup cranberries)
  • 1 cup, packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1/2 maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, coffee grinder or blender, grind half the oats to a fine powder (this apparently is KEY when making clusters! Helps make the granola hold together better).

granola clusters

In a large bowl, combine the whole oats, ground oats, nuts, spices, and dried fruit.

 

granola clusters

granola clusters

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the brown sugar, honey, butter, maple syrup and water and heat until the mixture starts to bubble. Stir in the salt and vanilla.

 

granola clusters 6

Pour this over the oats and nuts, stirring well to coat.

 

granola clusters

It should be moist – stir in another tablespoon or two of water if it isn’t. Let stand for about ten minutes.

 

granola clusters

Spread the mixture out on a large baking sheet and FIRMLY PRESS IT DOWN until it is packed nicely into the pan.

 

granola clusters

granola clusters

 

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven, let cool, then gently break up the mixture into medium-sized clumps. Now put BACK in the oven for another 15 to 20 minutes.

 

granola clusters 25

When the granola comes out of the oven it should be nice and golden brown, extra crunchy on the outside and just slightly soft and chewy on the inside.  Let cool completely then break it up into clusters and store in a covered container at room temperature.

 

granola clusters

If you like snacking on granola….you simply have to try these.

Oh, and don’t worry…..I can stop anytime I want to! ;-)

 




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Comments

  1. TRIXIE says

    You totally crack me up, Jillee!! I think I’m going to try a version of this but perhaps with pecans and cashews or sunflower seeds. I think I must be the only person on the planet that absolutely loathes the taste of almonds. Hahaha. Also, I just happen to have been gifted a rather large package of sun-dried figs recently and was wonder just what exactly I could do with them. How very timely of you to let me know at the perfect moment. :) I’m thinking dried cherries and figs?? Orrrrrr, maybe I’ll stick with raisins and figs – sounds like a better combination.

    Did you use your homemade “maple” syrup, or did you use the real thing in this recipe? Inquiring minds really need to know.

    Have a fabulous day!

  2. Janelle says

    This looks great! BUT I have to admit there is nothing more addicting than that popcorn you post awhile ago… with the brown sugar, marshmallows, and butter… that’s the BEST!!!

    My husband did help me out with a life hack for that though… of course it was after I had made a huge batch. after you pop your popcorn cut off the corners of the bag and shake it and all the kernels will fall out … saves a lot of time looking for them… and it saves your teeth :)

    • says

      That is brilliant Janelle! I am definitely going to try that next time I make that popcorn. You must thank your husband for me.

    • Pollyanna says

      Awesome tip about cutting the bag corner off to shake out the unpopped kernels…brilliant! Kudos to hubbie, clever guy.

    • Stacy says

      By the way, another way to get rid of those pesky kernels is to take a cooling rack and pour it over that. It helps separate the kernels from the popcorn!

  3. Cheryl says

    You know, when I was reading the original recipe, I thought that it wasn’t enough sweet ness to make the granola that we are used to from the grocery store. This sounds great, and it was a great story.

  4. fiona says

    Ok, I really NEEDS to makes theses! Just a quick question, now that you know to add the “sticky” ingredients, would you add them before you bake them? Or do you think it turned out better adding it after having baked them first? I love reading your posts first thing in the morning, it always perks up this non-morning gal!! Thanks!!!

  5. says

    Have you tried the recipe again and consolidated the steps? If/ when you do…let us know! I love granola and have finally gotten a good granola (chewy) bar recipe down for the kid’s snacks. It’s not easy to come by a good granola recipe!

  6. Margaret says

    Hi, I love granola but due to a sugar intolerance I can only have small amounts of sugar at a time. Is there a way to make this with less sugar? Or another granola recipe that you know of that would be less sugar. I can tolerate about 10 g per serving. After that things get really ugly. I love all your recipes and make a lot of them for my husband.

    • Nancy says

      I’m not sure if you’ve tried it, but there is “sugar-free” honey, and many other products that are sugar-free. I had gestational diabetes while pregnant with my last son, so it took a lot of getting used to sugar-free products.

  7. Linda says

    Oh, you must have read my mind, Jillee! I was just searching for granola cluster recipes on the web & Pinterest. I never found anything that sounded really good. Can’t wait to try your recipe! Thanks!!

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