I've never been a huge fan of granola. As Con Queso would say, it falls under the frustrating category of foods that seem like they should be good for you, but aren't. (Cracklin' Oat Bran, for the record, is #1 on this list.) More that that, it never tasted that great. In the near infinite cosmos of cold cereals, granola simply was not a priority.
But when Melissa Clark described the cult following behind Brooklyn's Early Bird Granola and its unique olive oil variation, my curiosity was piqued. Three weeks later, the blogosphere still abuzz with olive oil granola, I decided to try it.
You may officially consider me a granola convert [read: fanatic?]. Indifference has given way to compulsive, round-the-clock snacking.
Please send help.
Olive Oil Granola With Dried Cherries and Pistachios
Adapted from the NY Times
Something about the salty, caramelized flavor of these oats is totally irresistible, and unique from other versions I've tried. The original recipe calls for dried apricots, but I substituted dried cherries (a souvenir from our Pacific Northwest adventure). Feel free to improvise with other nuts and dried fruits. Make sure that the mixture is evenly coated with the olive oil and maple syrup, or it will not yield the crispy chunks that we all desire in granola.
2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cups raw pistachios, hulled
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds, hulled
1 cup coconut chips
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1-2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
3/4 cup chopped dried cherries
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl, combine oats, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, coconut chips, maple syrup, olive oil, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and cardamom. 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. [Ideally, you want to leave the chunks somewhat intact.]
2. Transfer granola to a large bowl and add cherries, tossing to combine. Serve with ricotta and fruit, if desired.