Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Melissa Clark's Olive Oil Granola

I have to admit, I was somewhat hesitant to write about this granola. After all, it's not as if it hasn't already received its fair share of attention. Melissa Clark first wrote about it in her Good Appetite column in the NY Times in 2009, and the recipe was reprinted in her excellent cookbook last year. In between, it was blogged about repeatedly.

But then I thought about how I felt recently when I realized that my supply of the stuff was almost gone--panicked. I couldn't imagine the house without even a little bit of the granola around, for breakfast and for snacks, occasionally for dessert. The granola, I decided, was worth my adding my voice to the crowd.

It's not as if I was looking for a new granola recipe. For years, I've been making (and eating) Suzanne's Famous Cashew Granola quite happily. But when I read about this version, I was intrigued by the combination of sweet, salty and slightly bitter that Clark says makes it so delicious. She was absolutely right.

Like most granolas, the recipe for this one is flexible. The original version Clark tasted had cashews and sunflower seeds. She changed this to pistachios--because that's what she had on hand--and pumpkin seeds because she doesn't like sunflower seeds. In my version, I go back to cashews and add some sliced almonds in, and replace half the pumpkin seeds with sunflower seeds, which I like just fine. I also upped the fruit a bit and used 1/2 dried apricot and 1/2 dried cranberries. (One of the other folks blogging about it liked that the original recipe had no almonds or cranberries in it--apparently a granola cliche--but I like them, and in my version, they stay.) Clark uses coconut chips, I used shredded coconut--as long as it's unsweetened, I don't think it matters. The only things not to tamper with are the olive oil, the maple syrup and the salt. Beyond that, tinker to your heart's delight. I have no doubt that it will be delicious. I even saw a Passover recipe that replaced the oats with matzoh--and that was apparently fabulous as well. With this granola, you can do no wrong.

Alas, my current supply is now low again--I know what's going to be on my to-do list for the weekend! I encourage you to do the same.

Olive Oil Granola With Dried Apricots and Nuts
Adapted from Melissa Clark's recipe in A Good Appetite

Time: 50 minutes

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1 1/2 cups slivered almonds and/or cashews (I used toasted almonds and raw cashews.)

1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1 cup coconut chips or other form of dried coconut

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 or ginger

1/2 cup chopped dried apricots

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl, combine oats, nuts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, coconut, maple syrup, olive oil, brown sugar, salt, and spices. Spread mixture on a rimmed baking sheet in an even layer and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until golden brown and well toasted.

2. Transfer granola to a large bowl and add dried fruit, tossing to combine.

Yield: About 9 cups.


Alexandra said...

Why olive oil? I would think it would provide a flavor. Why not a more neutral oil?

Sue Dickman said...

I think most granola recipes use a neutral oil. The olive oil in this one does have a flavor, which, for whatever reason, works particularly well with the maple syrup and the salt. You should really try this--it's addictive and delicious both. I'd been making my previous granola for 7 or 8 years, but I haven't made it once since I started making this kind.

Jennifer Woodard said...

I have to admit that I have never been one for granola, but I think I might actually try this recipe, maybe with some variations, but might give it a shot.

Thanks for the recipe.

Happy blogging,