When Melissa Clark writes about something, it sticks in my brain. I received “In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite” two Christmases ago, and promptly read it cover to cover. “In the Kitchen” seamlessly weaves stories and recipes together to create a cookbook that you can enjoy as a novel if you prefer. Her Olive Oil Granola has been lodged permanently in the back of my brain since that first reading. I only recently started making my own granola, with this simple granola recipe. When that experiment turned out so well, the olive oil granola memory started shoving its way to the front of my brain and the top of my grocery list.
I’m usually appalled by the amount of sugar and oil that goes into a standard granola recipe, but here I trusted Melissa and resisted the urge to cut down on the olive oil. I did play around with most of the other ingredients, adapting based on my tastes and what I had in my kitchen. The baby oats helped make the granola clusters stick together, so prepare to break out your food processor. Granola is all about the clusters.
Olive Oil Granola (adapted from this recipe)
This recipe really is downright addictive. All ten fingers and one of my wrists sport tiny burn spots earned while eating the granola right off the cookie sheet while still in the oven. The granola is good with milk, and delicious in yogurt, but it’s best by the handful, right off the pan, while the clusters are still warm and sticky from the brown sugar.
- 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup baby oats (or 1 cup rolled oats, pulsed in the food processor until fine)
- 1/2 cup almonds, roughly chopped
- 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
- 2 tablespoons hemp seeds
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- black pepper
- 1 cup dried tart cherries
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
- In a large bowl, mix together the rolled oats, baby oats, almonds, coconut, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar.
- When the dry ingredients are well mixed, add the maple syrup and olive oil and stir until the wet ingredients are well incorporated.
- Spread the granola on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet in one even layer.
- Bake for 45 minutes, checking occasionally. (I did not stir the granola; I found I got more clusters by not stirring)
- When the oatmeal is golden brown, pull the pan out of the oven and add several grinds of black pepper.
- Let the granola cool for ten minutes, then transfer it back into the large bowl and add the tart cherries. Stir to distribute the cherries evenly through the granola.
- Store the granola in a sealed jar. (makes 2 quarts)