Most people assume the best ways to eat granola are cereal-style with a splash of milk or layered with yogurt and fruit. There’s also the by-the-handful option, which is pretty fun, albeit messy. I’m here to tell you that none of these are the best way to eat granola. The most rewarding way to munch on the crunchy stuff is to bake it into a fruit crumble. Essentially a crisp with a bit more oomph, granola crumble is tender and crunchy in all the right places. Plus, the recipe is completely customizable to your individual taste.
Begin with the fruit portion of the dish. Wash, peel, and slice as much fruit as will fit in whatever baking dish you have on hand. Mixed berries work very nicely here, as do stone fruits like peaches or plums. Apples are good too. Feel free to mix and match your favorite super-sweet and slightly tart fruits if you want to have fun. Don’t use bananas—you don’t want to know what that tastes like.
Toss the fruit with 1 tablespoon maple syrup, 2 teaspoons lemon or orange juice, a pinch of sea salt, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. If you’d like, add a tablespoon of freshly chopped herbs like mint, thyme, or sage. Anything that would work in macerated fruit is what we’re going for here. Dump the fruit into the baking dish and pop that bad boy in a 375ºF oven for 35 minutes, or until the fruit is bubbly and warm.
Now, the granola (don’t think I forgot about it). The exact ratio will once again depend on the size of your baking dish, so increase or decrease to your personal selection. Full disclosure, I always make extras of the granola I use as a topping. I’ll stash it in a mason jar in the fridge, and drown it in milk with a handful of chocolate chips and frozen blueberries when I find myself in need of a couch snack (a.k.a. a food that should be eaten from a bowl so it can be balanced on your stomach while you lounge on the couch). Use whatever granola you like, either from the store or DIY. (Perhaps a pina colada-inspired one? Or a granola made with crumbled cookies? Or maybe go more classic with just a few cherries and chocolate).
Cover the top of the baked fruit completely with a thick layer of granola, then bake again for 10 minutes, or until toasty.
Serve a la mode, with softly whipped cream, or with a scoop of yogurt. For extra fun with flavor and texture, add a handful of the raw version of whatever fruit you baked into the crumble. Devour on the couch.