I haven’t baked granola at home for years. I used to make it occasionally when I was in my twenties and it was good, but there were so many ingredients – it was such bother and hassle that I ended up wondering if it was worth it. Then, for a time about 15 years ago, I worked for a small artisan muesli maker and spent my days stirring trays of granola and rolling giant muesli cookies. After I left that job, I was bit over baking granola, I wasn’t even sure whether I liked granola to go to the effort of making it at home. If I felt like eating oats for breakfast, I’d make porridge in the winter and bircher muesli in the summer. I still had the occasional granola craving but whenever I ate some, it was always unsatisfying, with too much fruit or sweetener or, unless I paid some extravagant price for a gourmet brand, a vaguely stale and chemical taste.
Occasionally, I’d come across a recipe for granola on the internet and I be tempted to make it but I’d always be daunted by the ingredient list. Then, Molly Wizenberg from Orangette published what was her fifth recipe for granola on her blog, which she claimed after 15 years of baking granola at home, was her best yet. The thing that pulled me in though wasn’t her rave about how great it was, it was the ingredient list: oats, maple syrup, olive oil, salt flakes and shredded coconut… that’s it! Five of those six ingredients are permanent staples in my pantry. Suddenly, after years of granola indifference, I felt the urge to bake some granola at home.
This is, without a doubt, the best granola I have ever eaten. Homemade granola has a tendency to be better than anything packaged you can buy, simply because its fresher but its more than that – it has a beautiful sweet savouriness with a magical combination of maple syrup, olive oil and sea salt. (Don’t forget the sea salt – you’ll occasionally get a flake of salt melting on your tongue and its totally awesome.)
It’s easy enough to gather the ingredients and it’s even easier to throw together – just weigh out the oats, nuts and shredded coconut mix in the salt, olive and maple syrup, pop it in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, and voila! There you have the best granola you are ever likely to eat. I use macadamia nuts so I don’t even chop them up – I just throw them in whole… who wants to waste time chopping nuts when you could be eating granola. It does use a whopping cup of maple syrup but as I’m a teetotaler, I justify all my food extravagances with the thought that it’s cheaper than drinking wine.
I think it’s best with plain yoghurt and some fresh fruit, but it’s quince season in Australia, so I’ve been eating it with yoghurt and some poached quinces that I left so long in the oven they turned a dark, rich garnet red and thus turning my simple yoghurt and granola breakfast into something truly fit for the gods.
Molly Wizenberg’s Magical Granola No.5
Adapted from Orangette
- 600 grams rolled oats
- 100 to 150 grams of unsweetened, shredded coconut
- 1½ teaspoons of flaked sea salt (I use Maldon salt)
- 1 cup (240 mls) maple syrup
- ⅔ cup (160 mls) virgin olive oil
- 400 grams of the nuts of your choice (chopped, if you can be bothered)
- Heat oven to 150°C (300°F)
- Mix together oats, coconut, salt and nuts in large bowl. Stir together oil and maple syrup, pour over oats and mix through thoroughly.
- Line baking two large baking trays (preferably with rims) with baking paper and spread oats evenly on tray.
- Bake in the oven for about 30 to 40 minutes, checking and stirring every ten minutes until the oats are golden and toasted.
- Cool on trays and store in airtight container. Keeps for about two weeks, though it is hard to make it last that long. Can be frozen if you aren’t going to eat it all at once.