Caramel Walnut Chocolate Chunk Granola

This isn't exactly your healthy breakfast-type granola, rather more of a luxe indulgent treat. But what the heck, even oatmeal has to let loose every once in awhile.

Caramel Walnut Chocolate Chunk Granola
Adapted from The New Whole Grain Cookbook by Robin Asbell
Makes about 9 cups

Preheat oven to 300°F.

Line a rimmed baking sheet (18" x 13") with either parchment paper or a silicone mat. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together:
4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (360g)
1 cup walnuts, broken into large pieces
1/4 tsp salt
Pour oats onto lined baking sheet. It isn't necessary to spread evenly as you'll be pouring the caramel over the oats and mixing and spreading at that point.

Have the following ready and next to the stove:
1/4 cup butter (2oz), sliced
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a 2-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan, stir together:
1 cup sugar (200g)
1/4 cup water

Over high heat, bring to a boil, moving the saucepan so as to gently swirl the sugar mixture (rather than stirring which could cause crystals to form). Cook until the syrup turns a medium amber, then remove from heat and add the butter carefully - it will sputter and foam. Stir with a heat-proof spatula then add the vanilla extract.

Pour the hot caramel over the oat mixture and stir immediately. Don't worry if the caramel hardens before you get a chance to thoroughly mix it in with the oats. The caramel will melt while baking and you'll have another opportunity to mix everything.

Place baking sheet into oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and stir well to distribute melted caramel. Return to oven and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from oven.

When cool, break the granola into chunks and mix with:
1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chunks (about 170g)

Store in air-tight container.

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