Crazy Addictive Granola

I only made granola a handful of times before I stumbled across this recipe in the NYT.

It was for the granola that Eleven Madison Park (three Michelin stars!) gives to guests at the close of a meal.

Sadly I’ll probably never have the chance to eat there, but I was curious to sample a hooty-snooty take on bird food. How would one of the top chefs in the country interpret a simple breakfast food?

The recipe looked easy enough, and the ingredient list not too intimidating, so after a quick trip to Trader Joe’s, I whipped up a batch lickety split.

Good lord. I could not stop eating the stuff. I kept on finding myself in front of the pantry absent-mindedly stuffing fistfuls of it in my face.

It became my go-to granola recipe on the spot. My apologies to all the neglected, unloved granola recipes out there – my heart belongs to this one. It is sweet and salty and lightly crisp with a little hit of olive oil to round it out.

It was only after I made this several times that I found out it was actually based on one by Nekisia Davis of Early Bird Foods in Brooklyn. Apparently it is so beloved that it has been adapted by quite a few big names.

I stuck with Eleven Madison version because I like the quantity it makes – just enough to fill up my large tupper. Anymore and I would need to invest in some big girl jeans.

I did end up tweaking the Eleven Madison version though – as written, it calls for 1 tablespoon of kosher salt, which I find a bit too salty to eat out of hand. So I scaled it down to 1 teaspoon (I use table salt), which is in line with several other versions out there.

I also tried cutting the sweetness, for a more everyday version. Melissa Clark did the same, for an even leaner version.

And I tried swapping out the olive oil for coconut oil, which is good, but a little more subdued.

Even still, it’s habit forming. Once I make a batch, it is usually gone in a couple of days, and there are telltale crumbs on the front of my shirt.

The next time I make some, I may try measuring out enough dry ingredients for 3 or 4 batches, bake one batch and store the rest for when the mood strikes. That way I could cut my prep time in half. But then again, maybe that is just tempting fate….

Eleven Madison Park Granola

Adapted from the NYT

Recipe notes: I checked out the Eleven Madison Park cookbook from the library and found that the kitchen uses kosher salt unless otherwise specified. Also, the recipe calls for Grade B maple syrup (soon to be called Very Dark), which is supposed to be richer and deeper-flavored than Grade A. But if all I have is Grade A I sure don’t let that stop me from making this here granola.

2 3⁄4 cups rolled oats

1 cup shelled pistachios

1 cup unsweetened coconut chips

1/3 cup pumpkin seeds

1 tablespoon salt (if you like salty, I do closer to 1 teaspoon)

1⁄2 cup light brown sugar (1/3 for lighter version)

1/3 cup maple syrup (1/4 for lighter version)

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (1/4 for lighter version)

3⁄4 cup dried sour cherries.

1. Preheat oven to 300. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, pistachios, coconut, pumpkin seeds and salt.

2. In a small saucepan set over low heat, warm the sugar, syrup and olive oil until the sugar has just dissolved, then remove from heat. Fold liquids into the mixture of oats, making sure to coat the dry ingredients well.

3. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, and spread granola over it. Bake until dry and lightly golden, 35 to 40 minutes, stirring granola a few times along the way.

4. Remove granola from oven, and mix into it the dried sour cherries. Allow to cool to room temperature before transferring to a storage container. Makes about 6 cups.