Olive Oil Granola

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Makes at least 12 cups
Adapted from a daughter’s adaptation of a NY Times Cooking recipe

Tip: The character of granola changes depending on its sweetness and crunch. In the recipe below, honey and maple syrup can be mixed in any ratio or used one without the other. The brown sugar can be reduced or eliminated but the resulting texture will change. Cranberries add a tart-sweet chew, but you can just as easily use dried cherries, blueberries, apricots, dates, golden raisins, or dried figs. My choice of nuts depends on what is in the cupboard…use pistachios, walnuts, pecans, almonds, hazelnuts, cashews…any combination of nuts you like). You be the boss of your granola.

Prep
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
Cover a large section of your countertop or table with several sheets of parchment paper. (I tape mine to the counter and each other so they won’t slide around when I’m trying to spread the hot, baked granola onto the surface for cooling.)
Select and measure your nut mixture and chop coarsely to a similar size.
Select and measure your dried fruit. If using larger pieces like apricots or dates, cut into a size similar to cranberries (but don’t fuss too much). Set the dried fruit aside; you will add it after the baked granola is cooling.

Ingredients
6 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (I like Bob’s Red Mill)
2½ cups roasted, unsalted nuts, coarsely chopped
1½ cups raw pumpkin seeds
1 cup coconut chips (optional)
1½ cups (total) of the best honey you can find plus real maple syrup
6 oz (3/4 cup) good quality extra virgin olive oil
½ cup packed brown sugar
1½ tsp sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
3 cups dried cranberries (or other fruit)

Directions
Combine all ingredients except dried fruit in a large bowl. Stir to coat oats and add-ins well, then spread evenly on a large sheet pan (I use the base of my oven’s broiler pan because it is a little deeper). Bake in the preheated oven for 35 – 45 min, stirring every 10 – 15 minutes. When done baking, immediately spread on parchment paper to cool (otherwise it will really stick to the pan). Scatter cranberries or other dried fruit evenly on top and mix in after it cools.

Serving suggestions (you take it from here):
1/2 cup plain, unsweetened grassmilk yogurt + 1/2 cup fresh berries + 1/4 cup granola

1/2 cup granola + 1/2 cup fresh berries + your favorite dairy or non-dairy milk

1/2 cup Häagen-Dazs Pineapple Coconut ice cream + 1/4 cup granola (it’s not just for breakfast)

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