I fell in love with this one granola while living in NYC. You could only find it at maybe three stores. It was mildly spiced and loaded with big chunks of dried fruits, coconut flakes, and whole nuts. When I moved to Connecticut, it became my mission to recreate it.
What's great about recreating your own version of treats is that you can make them exactly as you want. The granola I loved was also super sweet, so I dialed back the sugar quite a bit actually. And, in addition to basic cinnamon, I added a touch of cardamom and allspice to up the sophistication factor.
It's a grown-up granola if ever there was one.
Cardamom Spiced Olive Oil Granola
Makes approximately 9 cups
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 - 1 tsp. sea salt (to taste)
1 heaping tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup raw hazelnuts
1/2 cup raw pecans
1/2 cup raw pistachios
1/2 cup raw pepitas
1 heaping cup unsweetened coconut flakes
3 Tbs. coconut sugar (optional)
1/2 cup dried figs, unsulfured, chopped
1/2 cup dried apricots, unsulfured, chopped
1/2 cup naturally sweetened cranberries or cherries
1/2 cup golden raisins
*or whatever dried fruit you prefer (just use the same ratios)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Optional: Add almonds and hazelnuts to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse for a few seconds to break down the nuts slightly. Add the oats and pulse several more times. You want to keep everything chunky, this just helps the granola incorporate better in my opinion.
In a large bowl, combine wet ingredients. Then, add all dry ingredients except the coconut sugar and dried fruit. Mix very well until everything is evenly coated. Sprinkle coconut sugar onto mixture and gently combine. Dump onto baking sheet and spread into an even layer.
Bake for 30-35 minutes until just golden brown. I typically stir the mixture every 10-15 minutes to ensure even browning and that it's not getting burnt. Remove from oven and incorporate dried fruit. Let cool completely before storing in an airtight container. Will keep for at least 2 weeks.
Note: The granola will not crisp up in the oven. It only crisps once it starts to cool, so be sure to pull it from the oven before it gets too dark. You're going for golden brown.