I had never intentionally bought "quick oats" before realizing my favorite granola bar recipe actually called for them and I'd glossed over that the times I'd made them prior to a few months ago. And for good reason-still delicious if you used regular, but the bars were much more cohesive and properly chewy with the quick oats. Quick oats are simply rolled oats that have been mangled a bit and broken down. They aren't as thick as old fashioned, and therefore cook more quickly. This, I have learned, is great for some kinds of recipes, like those bars, and also for making oat flour. Quick oats are easier to grind, and a coffee grinder does the best work if you need just a small amount. But still, I figured quick oats wouldn't make for great granola-granola. Small in stature, wouldn't they just vanish if spread out on a sheet and baked?
Well it turns out that even though I said olive oil granola is the only essential granola recipe someone needs, I found myself a new granola recipe, one that sneakily reminds me exactly of one I used to buy in a box. One that was super clumpy, but didn't seem to involve the egg white trick. Since it came from a box, I had chalked the clumping to machinery. But it was probably the type of oats used! Mixed up almost like certain cookie doughs would be-- with oat flour, nuts, spices and quick oats being moistened by a bit of melted butter and brown sugar (no liquid sweetener here like typical granola), the mixture sits for a few minutes to absorb itself and then is heaped onto a baking sheet in little clumps. What happens in the oven is quite interesting, the oats seem to really bind to themselves, and you get those nice light clusters. Not to be confused with 'Clusters' cereal...I promise you this is much more up your alley. It will certainly take a place in my cereal arsenal.
Clumped Granola Recipe
A few notes: Adapted from The Traveler's Lunchbox, this recipe was originally much larger but I scaled it down by 4. It made enough for 2 little mason jars. Also, add-ins are up to you but I didn't bother with dried fruit or coocnut and I'm glad. The little bite of cinnamon and nutmeg really warm the whole mix enough and I find nuts/seeds are sufficient add-ins. But feel free to experiment.
4 oz/113 g/ quick oats (approx a heaped cup)
3/4 c mixed raw nuts and seeds (I used pecans and pumpkin seeds)
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
15 ml/1 Tbsp water
1 oz/2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup lightish brown sugar (good to mix light and dark or even a bit of regular sugar with dark brown)
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
Oven at 300.
Grind HALF of the oats into a fine flour. In a large bowl mix nuts, nutmeg, cinnamon, oats and oat flour.
In a small saucepan place butter, water, and sugar and heat on low until butter just melts. Stir in vanilla and salt.
Pour wet over dry and combine until the whole mix is moistened. Leave to sit for about 8 minutes.
Spread a piece parchment on a sheet pan and dump the mix onto it. Spread it into an even layer with your hands, whilst clumping little chunks together.
Bake 22 minutes, then give it an initial stir. Bake 12 more minutes. Stir again. Bake for another 12, but watch it. The mix will be drying out but don't be afraid to give it a tad more browning. At this point you can also do another 10-12 if you'd like but watch to get the perfect tan at this stage, mine cooked for a total of just under 50 mins. Set out to cool completely before storing in a jar or two.