i made some granola for a real sweetie-pie friend of mine who did some great cat-sitting for us a little while back. yes, i pay my cat-sitters in sweets. normally i’ll make brownies or a cake or something and leave it on the counter, but she really likes my granola and requested a special batch. it took me 3 months (3 months!) to get around to doing this for her. that’s why it’s best if i can just do it ahead and leave it out while we’re gone. i’m not flaky, i just forget. sorry.
anyhow, even though this is made with oats which upset my stomach terribly and go against my dietary positions, i did try a small handful of this stuff and it is GOOD. not to toot my own horn or anything here, but i am really good at making granola.
-what? i call ’em like i see ’em.
i made a second batch last week for a camping trip. this time i subbed in chopped, dried apples for the cherries and chopped walnuts for the almonds. the results? apple pie double. yeah, this stuff was equally addictive. i encourage lots of experimenting here, you won’t be sorry. dried blueberries and hazelnuts would rock. pecans and cranberries are an obvious… apricots and almonds have been done and loved.
the key to this wonder-granola is not the fruit or nuts used here, it is all in the granola base. you could make this without fruit and nuts and it would stand alone. i got my inspiration from a n.y. times article. i took the basics and ran with it. the important elements were fruity olive oil, salt, and brown sugar. this recipe is really flexible, so if you don’t have an ingredient, throw something else in. i strongly encourage using the cardamom, though. it really adds an interesting and irresistable element. this granola is sweet, salty, crispy and crunchy. drowned in cold milk would make a wonderful breakfast, or eaten dry by the handful, but i want to see it sprinkled on top of vanilla ice cream. i’m sure my husband is already on this.
here i share my secrets & methods with you. secrets on how to make granola. is this necessarily an important skill to have? i think it is. hell, it fed 400,000 hungry hippies, with the munchies, at woodstock. i think that’s pretty significant. consider this a lesson in how to feed a lot of people on very few resources.
this recipe makes roughly 6 cups.
cherry almond granola
3 cups rolled oats, not instant
2 cups slivered almonds
1/2 cup flax seed meal
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom
1 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp almond extract
method: preheat oven to 300f. combine all dry ingredients except for the dried fruit in a large bowl.
separately, combine all wet ingredients in a bowl.
combine the ingredients until very well combined. give it a little taste to see if you want to add anything if you wish, but the flavors change quite significantly during baking. it would be difficult to tell how sweet it is or well spiced until after it cooks.
spread evenly onto large cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so.
granola will remain quite soft until it cools, so don’t be fooled into over-baking this stuff. it burns quite easily.
remove from oven and let cool. like i said, it crisps as it cools.
throw into a large bowl or airtight container and stir in dried fruit.
give to friends who do fine favors for you.