Granola — that decadent concoction of sweet oats roasted in the oven with scrumptious add ins popularized by hippies many decades ago — made the front page of the NY Times dining section this week.
It’s no surprise to me that granola is making a comeback and appearing on menus at the finest restaurants. My friends and I have always found it groovy and have been making granola for years and years! We were on the forefront of this granola revival, making it trendy long ago in our own community. But the key word here is “make.” Store bought granola can be many things, but fattening and expensive scream the loudest and triggered my original itch to make it at home.
Granola is actually an ideal food to make with a friend. It can be thrown together in minutes; has a “wow” smell factor — while it bakes an irresistible aroma will permeate your home providing a luxurious backdrop to conversation; it’s customizable and versatile, which means you can make it with nuts and honey and your friend coconut and agave. It’s a forgiving food that craves to be different every time you make it so you’re never bound to a recipe or need to go to the store. And finally, it has an ideal sharing component, one of the greatest benefits of cooking with a friend. You bring the oats, I’ll provide the coconut; you have the oil, I have the dried fruit. Divvy up the ingredients as you like with what you have on hand with nary a stop at the store.
Here’s my latest granola concoction. But don’t be deterred by the fancy emulsion and extract. Simply leave it out and use whatever extract you have on hand. And if you don’t have the Agave, substitute some honey instead. Just make sure you stick to the oat, oil and honey ratio. If you want to make it less fattening, lessen the oil.
Coconut Agave Granola
Makes approximately 6 cups
4 cups rolled oats
½ cup olive oil (or 1/3 for a less fattening version)
½ cup Agave syrup
½ cup wheat germ
½ cup chopped almonds
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon coconut emulsion
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup shredded sweetened coconut
1 cup dried blueberries (or cherries)
Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl mix oats, oil, Agave, almonds, wheat germ, extracts and emulsion, salt and coconut. Spread evenly on two parchment paper lined baking sheets and bake for 20 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven and let cool. Sprinkle in the blueberries and break apart the granola. Store the granola in an airtight container for several weeks.