Honey and Olive Oil Granola

DSC04056I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to post the recipe I make more than any other.  It’s been one of those things, where since I always know another batch of homemade granola is just on the horizon, I can put off photographing or writing about the process until next time… or next time… or the time thereafter.

While that’s understandable, keeping this favorite-of-a-recipe from friends and family for this long certainly is not.  I haven’t bought granola in three years, and any packaged granola I’ve tasted, frankly, seems overly sweet and meager on protein, often leaving me craving something more substantial within a few hours.

The secret for this granola’s flavor and satisfaction is  DSC04059that it’s packed with nuts.  In fact, this recipe has more nuts and seeds than it does oats, meaning that this granola is filled with healthy omegas and proteins, and keeps me full for hours.  While a person could choose to substitute sugar instead of the honey I use in my recipe, the honey is abundant at our house, and also adds a crunchy texture that I love.

I also split my nuts, seeds, and coconut flakes into two piles – one to be baked with the olive oil and honey, and another to add to the mix once the granola is out of the oven.  this leaves the nutritional elements of half of my ingredients completely intact, and once stirred with the warm granola fresh from the oven, the raw batch is also coated with oil/honey goodness, and blends right in.

DSC04550For this day’s granola baking ritual, I’m listening to Neko Case’s Middle Cyclone. The cover has Ms. Case herself perched atop 1967 Mercury Cougar, sword drawn and ready to spring into battle.  Neko’s music makes a similarly empowered affront to one’s senses.  Whenever my mind drifts away from the lyrics (which are  centered around nature, animals, and love), it is quickly brought back with Neko’s impressive range and insistence. The storytelling is magical and alive, and it’s nearly impossible not to sing along when Case belts “I’m an anima-aaal… you’re an animal too…”  If, after a few listens, a person can listen to “Animal” and not hum at the very least, I’d be worried about that person’s cold, dead, heart.

I kid! Kind of. Really though, you don’t have to take my word for it.  Middle Cyclone was nominated for two Grammys, featured a “piano chorus” of six pianos played simultaneously on three tracks, and was partially recorded at Neko’s barn in Vermont, so nature sounds legitimately make it in the record as well.  It is all too much fun to resists.  Check it.

Annnd check out this granola.  With Neko Case blaring and the smell of homemade granola wafting through the house, you’ll be in for a good day.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw pecans (divided)
  • 1 cup raw almonds (divided)
  • 1 cup raw walnuts (divided) *You can easily substitute another nut, such as cashews, if one of the recommended nuts isn’t on hand in your home.
  • 1 cup raw unsweetened coconut flakes (divided)
  • 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds or raw hulled sesame seeds (divided) *I prefer pumpkin because of the color variation
  • 1 cup flax seeds (divided)
  • 4 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 1/4 cups olive oil
  • 1 cup honey

Directions:

  • Create two bowls, and divide nuts and seeds evenly between each bowl. For example, place 1/2 cup of raw pecans in one bowl, and 1/2 of the pecans in the other bowl.  Continue this with nuts, seeds, and coconut flakes. *If you are going to get really particular (like me), place the larger chunks all in the same bowl (to be baked) and the smaller pieces and scrapings off the cutting board into another bowl (this I keep for the raw add-in. I put the latter directly into a huge Tupperware container that I use to store about 1/3 of my granola in, so I can add the warm granola mixture from the oven straight in, shake, and be done!). DSC04058
  • Add oats to the oven-bound mixture of nuts, seeds, and coconut flakes
  • Add olive oil, and mix until mixture is evenly coated.DSC04061
  • Add honey to the mix  and stir thoroughly. *I sometimes add a tbsp. or two of water to my honey, just to make the mixing a bit easier – especially if I have  particularly thick batch of honey. DSC04066
  • Take mixture and divide into two 9″x 13″ cake baking pans.  *Baking in these pans allows enough space to easily stir the granola without spilling. DSC04067
  • Bake at 350° for approximately 45 minutes, stirring every ten minutes with a spatula. *Take care to remove pan from oven and stir thoroughly each time, using the spatula to remove and shift the granola from the side and bottom of the pan, to ensure even crisping.
  • Once the moisture has baked off and the granola has turned a golden brown, remove from the oven and mix with the reserved raw nuts, seeds, and coconut flakes.  Stir thoroughly to incorporate dry mixture into the freshly baked granola.DSC04519
  • Lay the granola out to dry on baking sheets, breaking up large clusters. This prevents the granola from taking on the form of a huge, crunchy mass, similar to a popcorn ball. *Only not popcorn. Oats and nuts.  A giant, hard, oat, nut and seed ball.  A finch’s dream…DSC03457
  • Once the granola has dried, store in airtight containers.  Serve with yogurt and fruit, or a milk of your choice. *In my life, 2nd and 3rd period find me eating my granola, goat milk, and sliced banana out of a mason jar on the daily. DSC04072

 

I also love to jar the granola and give it as gifts.  It’s DSC02550 - Version 2a cozy and thoughtful gift for the holidays, or to give as thanks for folks that host me on visits.

You may even find yourself doubling this large batch on occasion, once the addiction settles in.  If nuts, honey, coconut flakes, and olive oil coated and crisped are my undoing, I’m ready to be undone.

Enjoy falling in love!

 

 

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