Granola is a morning staple for my family. It graces our smoothie bowls and tops our yogurt cups. We even eat it by the bowlful, drenched in milk.
Over the years, I’ve sampled plenty of store-bought and homemade varieties. While I have many favorites, this Cherry Almond Granola with Vanilla Crumbles is at the top of my list.
Dried Cherries and Almonds Make a Great Pair
Toasted almonds add robust depth to this granola, while vanilla crumbles provide an unexpected (but addictive) sweet and salty flavor burst. Combine all of that with chewy and not-too-sweet cherries, and it’s a morning meal made in heaven.
Almond and cherry are a classic combination, and when paired with the floral sweetness of vanilla, this granola becomes extra delicious.
Add Some Vanilla Crumbles
The vanilla crumbles are an adaptation of a recipe from Christina Tosi's Momofuko Milk Bar. She uses them as topping for cakes and other sweet creations. For today's granola, I reduced the amount of salt, added vanilla, and baked them for a longer period of time to make sure they were really crunchy.
These crumbles are an uncommon addition to granola, but one worth investing the time to make. They add a layer of crunchy texture without the chewy nature of oats. They hold up in a bowl of milk and the flavor profile adds an irresistible burst of sweet and salty in every bite. Visually, the lightly colored crumbles brighten the otherwise brown color of the granola.
Once you make them, you’ll want to add them to everything.
That being said, if you are short on time, you can skip the crumbles or make them later and add them in when time allows. The granola still tastes great without them.
Storing Your Granola
With the crumbles this granola will keep for about two weeks in an airtight container at room temperature. It will keep for a month or more without them.
More Granola Recipes to Try
- Crunchy Banana Nut Granola
- Peanut Butter Honey Granola Bars (These are also good crumbled into chunky granola!)
- Holiday Spice Granola
Cherry Almond Granola With Vanilla Crumbles
The vanilla crumbles are an adaptation of Milk Crumbs developed by Christina Tosi of Momofuko Milk Bar in New York City. The original recipe is in her cookbook.
- For the vanilla crumbles (makes about 1 cup of crumbles):
- 6 tablespoons instant nonfat dry milk (such as Carnation)
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, or the 1 vanilla bean, seeded and scraped
- For the granola:
- 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats, divided
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds
- 3/4 cup dried cherries
Heat the oven to 250°F
Mix the crumbles:
Whisk together dry ingredients—the powdered milk through salt—in a bowl. If using vanilla bean add the scraped seeds to the dry ingredients. If using vanilla extract add it to the melted butter.
Slowly pour the butter over the dry ingredients while tossing with a fork until it forms clumps and all the dry ingredients have been incorporated. It will look like sandy gravel. Your largest pieces should be no larger than the size of a pea.
Bake the crumbles:
Scatter the crumbles evenly on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake at for 25 minutes until they are dry, but still pale in color. Cool completely on the cookie sheet.
Store in an airtight container for up to one week, or cool and use stir into granola.
Increase the oven temperature to 325°F
Mix the granola:
Combine oil, syrup, sugar, extracts, cinnamon, and salt in a medium sized bowl. Stir in oats and almonds making sure they are well coated. (Reserve the dried cherries for adding later.)
Bake the granola:
Spread mixture evenly onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 10 min. Stir and bake for 10 more minutes. Stir and bake for 5 to 7 minutes more. The granola should be dry and golden. Remove from oven. Let cool completely.
Finish and store:
Once the granola is cool, stir in cherries and vanilla crumbles. Store in an airtight container at room temp for 2 weeks. (Alternatively, store the vanilla crumbles separately at room temperature, covered, for up to two weeks, and the granola will keep for 1 month.)
Serve over your favorite yogurt with sliced bananas and a drizzle of honey.