This time of year, I tend to always keep a big jar on my counter full of granola. I make it on Sunday nights and eat it all week. This basic recipe is a keeper: hard to mess up and ripe for limitless experiments. Makes the house smell great as well.
This particular version is inspired by apple crisp with dried apples and cranberries, but please, once you get the hang of it, riff hard. Follow the basic proportions, but customize a granola that fits all your tastes and mood.
This recipe is also sort of fun because you can get all the ingredients at Costco and you technically only need one measuring cup. Measure the oats, then pepitas and seeds — or whatever nuts or seeds you’re working with — then fill the empty cup halfway with syrup and halfway with oil. And done! With a single cup to wash.
Remember: you can sub in two cups of just about any combination of raw seeds and nuts that you fancy. You might try slivered almonds, or pecans or walnuts with the dried apple recipe. You could do a combination of those and some sunflower seeds or pepitas, aka pumpkin seeds. And, once you’re experimenting, you can also use two cups of any kind of dried fruit and change the flavor profile by switching up the spices. About a tablespoon and a half of spice is usually sufficient.
You might try, for example, dried apricots and sour cherries with pistachios and cardamom. Or go dried pineapple, banana chips and shredded coconut! My family loves dried blueberries and golden raisins with lots of allspice. So long as all your ingredients are fresh — smell those bulk section nuts and seeds to make sure they aren’t stale! — you can’t really go wrong. This granola also makes a great gift.
Spiced apple crisp granola
Makes 16 ½ cup servings
4 cups of rolled oats
½ cup olive oil
½ cup maple syrup
1 cup pepitas
1 cup sunflower seeds (can sub slivered almonds or other nuts)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 cup finely chopped dried apples (sweetened preferred)
1 cup dried cranberries
Method: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Combine oats, oil, syrup, pepitas, seeds, spices, vanilla and salt and mix well. Cover a very large 16- by 22-inch sheet pan, or two smaller sheet pans with parchment. Spread the granola on the pan(s) in a very thin layer. Bake for 15 minutes. Stir. Bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes. Stir on the pan to break up any large pieces. Add dried apples and cranberries. When completely cooled, pour into a container with a good seal. Store in a cool dry place for up to one week.