This is the homemade granola of your dreams. It’s called crack granola for a reason: it’s addictive.
Seriously. Your search for the best granola recipe is over.
The recipe is not mine, it’s a slight adaptation from the now famous crack granola from Eleven Madison Park (via the New York Times), a restaurant in New York that gives their dinner guests a gift packet of a wonderful granola for breakfast the next day. I read about it on Liz’ blog, she made it with pistachios and coconut, and of course, I had to try it immediately.
I’ve been making it ever since. Adapting it here and there. But two ingredients never fail to deliver (besides oats of course), and that’s the combination of olive oil and maple syrup. It’s simply the best possible thing to add to your homemade granola. So good it deserves the name crack granola, because it becomes an addiction, albeit a good one.
For me, the sliced almonds are a must too. They provide a crunch different from chopped or whole almonds. I have used part hazelnuts too, but the sliced almonds are essential.
By now I wonder who buys commercial granola, usually so lackluster, a mountain of oats and so few dried fruits and nuts. This homemade granola is sooo easy to make and keeps a few weeks if done correctly. Who would want to settle for less, right?
The oats (and whatever else you want to add) are impregnated with a mix of olive oil and maple syrup, that is warmed with some brown sugar in this recipe. This sticky mess is then baked at a low temperature to dry the wet mixture, resulting in a caramelized granola, every part coated until it hardens.
It’s important to give it the time it needs in the oven. If it doesn’t dry it will not keep well, and it will be chewy without being crunchy, like a cereal past its milk period.
So the type of pan/amount of oat mixture ratio is important. I use sheet pans, so the granola is spread as much as it can and is more easily dried before it colors too much. A golden color is great and good for the caramel flavor, but it should be dried when it gets to this point.
It will still feel wet when you take it out of the oven, but it will harden as it cools. You’ll get the hang of it when you start making it regularly. Because you will. One batch of homemade crack granola and there’s no turning back. You’re spoiled for life.
Yield 4 cups
You can vary the spices and/or dried fruits and nuts.
- 3 cups oats (I like to use steel cut)
- 1 cup sliced almonds
- 1/4 cup shredded coconut (optional)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 3 Tbs dark brown sugar
- Pinch of sea salt
- Zest of 1 orange
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries and/or raisins
- Fresh fruit and milk (I like almond), to serve
- Preheat oven to 300ºF / 120ºC.
- In a large bowl mix oats, almonds, coconut if using, salt, zest and cinnamon.
- In a small saucepan, heat olive oil, maple syrup and sugar just until dissolved, it doesn’t need to boil.
- Add at once to the oat mixture and mix well with a fork or spoon, making sure it coats everything.
- Spread on a baking sheet (preferably with 1-2 inch borders) and bake for 1 hour or so, moving it every 15 minutes, so it bakes evenly.
- It will feel wet, but after an hour it will be golden, and some parts will be dried.
- You can add the dried fruit during the last 5 minutes, but I like to add it when I take it out of the oven. Why? Because too much baking and it dries too much, sometimes gets bitter. And also, the interesting part is to coat it in the maple/oil mixture, but that means you have to bake it an hour, and they will not taste good, in my opinion.
- Take it out, add the dried fruit, and let it cool, moving it around at first so it doesn’t clump too much. Some clumping is good, in my opinion.
- Keep in jars with tight lids.
- Serve with fresh fruit, milk and more maple syrup if you want.