I’ve been on a granola-making spree for months now. While my old recipe was good, it was a bit ingredient-heavy and frankly not the best it could me. Enter: Early Bird Granola. This farm market favorite has earned a massive cult-like following, with a price tag to match. Yes, it’s delicious, but in the spirit of DIY (and in an effort to save a bit of cash), I make my own version based on this method from The Kitchn.
‘Olive oil?’ you say. Believe it. The subtle fruitiness of olive oil lends a really interesting depth when combined with pure maple syrup and a heavy pinch of salt. It’s a bit sophisticated; it’s a granola that belongs on dollops of tangy Greek yogurt with winter fruit compote than, say, nonfat key lime Yoplait.
The best part is its’ versatility – you can use any combination of nuts, seeds and dried fruit you like. Let me know what variations you create!
Maple-Olive Oil Granola with Hazelnuts & Cherries
3 cups old-fashion rolled oats (NOT quick oats)
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cardamom
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
3/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup dried fruit*, roughly chopped (I used cherries)
1/3 cup seeds*, toasted (I used pumpkin seeds)
1/2 cup nuts*, toasted and chopped (I used hazelnuts)
- Heat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, mix the oats, salt, cinnamon and cardamom. Stir in the olive oil, maple syrup and vanilla.
- Spread the granola out on a parchment-lined rimmed sheet pan. Bake for about 30-40 minutes, stirring every so often for even color until light brown and toasty (mixture may appear a bit wet, this is OK).
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
- Meanwhile, toast the nuts/seeds. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet and bake at 350F until light brown, about 10 minutes (watch them so they don’t burn!)
- Transfer cooled granola in a large bowl, breaking up large pieces into chunks. Gently fold in the dried fruit and toasted nuts and seeds. Store in an airtight container for about 10 days (or in the fridge for about a month).
*You can add any combination of fruit/nuts you like. I love working with dried figs, cranberries, golden raisins and apricots. Almonds, walnuts, pecans and even cashews are all welcome additions. I often throw in some sesame seeds, too, for even more crispiness. I’m working on a cacao-nib & coconut oil version…stay tuned.