There was a recipe in the New York Times a week or so ago for granola, and the whole pre-recipe descriptor was so drool-worthy that I’m surprised it took me this long to try it. Recipe author Melissa Clark went to some fancy little shop where people were forming an unruly mob around the granola samples, and hording them, because they were so crazy good. And then she tries some and buys it and eats the whole bag on the short walk home because it’s so spectacular. She had me as soon as I got to the part about it having olive oil and salt in it.
So I finally got around to making it, and it is, indeed, insanely good. Of course I had neglected to get any of the ingredients. You can see the original recipe here, and below I’ll give you my what-I-had-on-hand recipe. The original recipe has nuts and dried fruit in it, and I ended up adding those sometimes (almonds and cranberries), and sometimes not. That seemed better because then everyone in the World of Julie can adjust to taste. I tried making it again later with the almonds, and I actually like it better with them added right before you eat them. They got a little soft when they were mixed in with everything in the oven.
You will be shovelling this in by the handful, and then you will feel virtuous for putting it on yogurt for breakfast. The thought of it on good vanilla ice cream actually makes me a little lightheaded. I don’t think I could do it because I’d eat it all.
This is a make-in-the-background kind of recipe. It takes five minutes to throw together, and then you just occasionally have to wander back into the kitchen to stir it. It doesn’t demand a lot from you, and gives you back a hell of a lot in return.
Olive Oil Granola
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds (or a mix of both)
1 cup coconut (orig. recipe calls for coconut “chips” but I had shredded coconut so that’s what I used)
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
3/4 cup dried fruit…I’d try it with anything from raisins to cherries to blueberries to cranberries. Orig. recipe uses apricots.
1 1/2 cup nuts (original recipe uses pistachios, I’ve been putting almonds in)
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl, combine everything but dried fruit. Spread mixture on a rimmed baking sheet [I used a roasting pan] in an even layer and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until golden brown and well toasted.
2. You can add the dried fruit and nuts now, or later.
Melissa Clark actually calls this “health-conscious crack.” I think that’s all you need to know.