I have a running theory that if I was a superhero (or, more aptly, a superheroine), my Kryptonite would be homemade granola. I’d be able to climb tall buildings effortlessly, travel for miles in a single leap and save cats stranded in trees with no more effort than it takes to lift my pinky finger — but even one whiff of granola, and I’m a goner. True story.
So you can imagine how difficult it was for me to make this homemade cherry, maple and walnut granola this past weekend and force myself to not eat all seven cups in one sitting. Even now, I stare at the photos longingly, wishing they would invent a computer screen like that television in “Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory” where you can grab a real candy bar out of it, and where Mike Teevee gets divided into a million pieces — but that’s not important.
What’s important is that this granola is so good, so tart and sweet and savory and crunchy all at the same time, that I’m sure any superhero would swoon after a single bite.
The magic that is this homemade granola first caught my eye over here and, with a few tweaks of my own (unsweetened coconut flakes instead of chips, walnuts instead of pecans, etc.), I managed to create a masterpiece with not much more effort than it takes to lift a pinky finger (see above, cats in trees). But I assure you, this masterpiece is not of my doing, but that of the perfectly proportioned blend of flavors that mingle and make merry while baking together in the oven. The walnuts get crunchier, the coconut gets toastier, the sunflower seeds and pepitas get savory-ier. And once you remove it from the oven, let it cool in the fading sunlight and toss in the dried cherries, it transforms into its final, delicious and undeniable product. If you have the willpower to be able to share some with loved ones, that’s great. But no one will blame you for keeping it all for yourself, too. I get it. I really do.
Cherry, Maple & Walnut Granola
Adapted slightly from Orangette
Yields: About 7 cups
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup raw, hulled pumpkin seeds, or pepitas
3/4 cup raw, hulled sunflower seeds
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 1/4 cup raw walnut pieces
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup real maple syrup
1/2 cup olive oil
dried cherries (optional)
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine oats, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut flakes, walnuts, brown sugar and salt. Pour in maple syrup and olive oil and stir until well combined. Spread evenly on prepared baking sheet.
Bake, stirring every 15 minutes, until granola is golden brown, about 40-45 minutes. Remove from oven and place baking sheet on cooling rack to cool completely. Add dried cherries to cooled granola, if desired, and stir to combine. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one month.