Today, I finally concocted a granola I can call my own. While I have made many batches of granola in the past, they’ve always come from recipes. My science-minded self craves structure, reliability, and accuracy. Therefore, before I set out to cook, I scour the cookbook shelf and the blogosphere for the golden ratio of ingredients. I realized that when it came to granola, this was quite hypocritical. Granola is a staple of the 1970’s, and it begs for free love. So this afternoon, I let myself go and mixed up my favorite ingredients to make the most delicious batch of granola that has ever emerged from my oven.
Inspired by a recent New York Times article, I used olive oil instead of the usual canola. This not only gave the granola a great golden color, but also imbued it with a fruity undertone. I had recently been given a giant jar of homemade honey from a farm in South Florida, and I used a generous pour to give the granola a rich sweetness. My nuts of choice were sliced almonds and bright green pumpkin seeds. I also added a healthy dose of ground flaxseed, shredded coconut, and a few grinds of sea salt.
As the granola baked away, I realized I had forgotten to add the ingredient I was most excited about: orange zest. However, this turned into a delicious mistake. The instant the warm granola came out of the oven I grated the zest of an entire orange over it and let the warm oats and nuts drink up the bright orange oil. Once it had cooled completely I tossed in dried apricots and cranberries. I’ve already munched on quite a few handfuls, and I can’t wait to have it for breakfast with Greek yogurt. I hypothesize that the results of this kitchen experiment will be well received by all taste testers
Recipe after the jump.
Feel free to make substitutions that suit your taste. Granola stores very well in an airtight container in the freezer.
3 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups sliced almonds
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
2 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp chopped dried apricots
1/4 cup dried cranberries
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Combine oats, nuts, coconut, and salt in a large bowl. In a small heatproof bowl microwave the olive oil, honey, and brown sugar for 1 minute. Stir together the wet ingredients, making sure there are no clumps of brown sugar. Pour the wet mixture over the dry mixture and stir to coat evenly. Pour the mixture onto a large rimmed cookie sheet that has been prepared with non-stick cooking spray. Pat down the mixture so that it is in a uniform layer. Bake for 15 minutes, and then stir to redistribute the mixture. Bake for another 10 minutes, and stir again. Bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove granola from the oven and grate the zest of the whole orange over the mixture. Use your hands or a spatula to mix the zest evenly throughout the granola. Allow granola to cool for about 30 minutes and then add the apricots and cranberries. Store in an airtight container.