Last week I was really worried about what breakfast foods were available in my kitchen. My friend Jennifer Castle was coming to Minneapolis to play a show and she was going to stay at our place for a night. I wish I was one of those people (like my parents) who mostly eat the same thing, day in, day out, for breakfast. In my parents’ case, it is a typical Persian breakfast of barbari bread, feta cheese, honey, butter, jam, and sometimes a savory take such as cucumbers and walnuts. On the weekends they might go crazy and make eggs instead, but they eat this way every day. There is no surprise. Matt and I tend to go through stages. We’ll eat toast and a hard boiled egg for a week, Malt-o-meal for another week, a savory Persian breakfast, cereal, scones, etc. It always changes (though I haven’t been successful in suggesting we try a traditional Japanese breakfast). For a long time, we ate yogurt and granola every morning. I think we over did it, which is why we hadn’t made it in close to six months. Thus when I knew Jennifer was coming, and saw that we had just finished the scones I made earlier in the week, I thought it was time for some granola again.
The recipe comes from the book you see above, a wonderful annual project by my dear friends Erika and Mike. Every year, they create a cookbook of their favorite recipes from the past year – the ones they cooked the most often that year – and send it to their friends. It’s such a charmingly sweet tradition and a super exciting gift to receive. It also doesn’t hurt that the cookbook is designed in a really appealing way and features their dog Marcel on the cover.
What I really love about this recipe is the combination of olive oil and maple syrup. The olive oil, in particular, prevents it from being too sweet. It reminds me of the Early Bird Jubilee granola and this one. One of the reasons I always avoided granola as a breakfast food was because it struck me as too sweet. And on the whole, I prefer savory breakfasts. But this one passes the test, especially because I’ve adapted the recipe to be even less sweet. I experimented with this the second time I made it, and found that it really didn’t need any brown sugar (or sugar of any kind) beyond the 1/3 cup maple syrup.
For this particular iteration, I substituted unsalted butter for the olive oil, because I had just run out of the latter and was stuck at home and needed to get the granola made in that window of time. I really like the way it turned out but I will probably go back to olive oil. I give you both options in the recipe below. I’ve also adapted the recipe by removing the dried cherry option, which I don’t really enjoy. Sometimes I will add part of a chopped apple. It lends some tart juiciness. I’ve been eating this yogurt exclusively for a little while now and I love everything about it. I’m going to to use it as a starter for homemade yogurt in the next day or two. It felt really good to be able to send Jennifer off with a little granola in a jar too. I wish more friends would come out to the cold Midwest to visit…
Adapted from Mike and Erika’s 2012 Cookbook
Makes about 5 cups
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup pistachios, shelled (unsalted)
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (NOT shredded coconut)
1/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup olive oil (or unsalted butter, melted)
Preheat the oven to 300° Fahrenheit. Mix the oats, pistachios, coconut flakes, pumpkin seeds and salt in a large bowl. Mix the olive oil (or melted butter) and maple syrup. Pour over the dry mixture and stir to distribute evenly. Spread the mixture on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes or until the mixture is golden-brown and dry, stirring every 10 minutes. I sometimes leave it for up to 40 minutes. Allow the mixture the to cool and store in an airtight container. Serve with plain full fat yogurt and, if you like, half a chopped apple. My favorite ratio is 1/2 cup yogurt, 1/4 cup granola, and about half an apple.