Okay, forget everything you associate with granola.
This is not kumbaya in a bowl. Leave your guitar in the case. There will be no consciousness raising, no bandanas, no tie-dye, and no hiking (unless you count the stairmaster).
This is not Grrrrranola made by Gurls, there is no patchouli, and my apron is not made of hemp. I make a point of never wearing anything that could double as a joint.
Finally, there is no musty air of "health food" about the place - no one who goes through as much butter as I do in a week could be accused of voluntary deprivation.
This is Billionaire's Granola.
Rich, decadent, irresistible, but still full of natural goodness, as you'll no doubt remind yourself when reaching for the upteenth handful.
I used to have a cottage industry selling this granola to colleagues at an unconventional law firm, where all the attorneys had white-shoe credentials but preferred to wear blue jeans. They indulged me in peddling it for $10 a bag (I blush thinking about this now, but I couldn't afford to give it away). In 1995 dollar terms, that was a lot of dough for a little granola. But it was good. And one by one, they would turn up at my office door, asking if I had a bag (reminiscent of another type of transaction, more commonly seen on In The Weeds).
I can't recall why I ever stopped making it. But yesterday, as I reached for my customary purchase of gourmet granola in a foil bag, grimacing at the $12 price tag, I thought, Why don't I just whip some up???
As it turns out, making it is only mildly cheaper than the store-bought gourmet option, but here is the critical difference: store-bought granola, no matter how expensive, comes out of the packet cold, barely scented and lifeless.
It will never fill your house with the extraordinary aroma of Billionaire's Granola.
Children and spouses will drift towards the kitchen, as if under a spell. Picky eaters who never touch nuts or dried fruit will be sneaking fists full straight off the baking sheet. Neighbors will invent excuses to come over, so if you haven't yet done the breakfast dishes or just plain don't like them, shut the windows first. This is powerful stuff. You've been warned.
I had to retrieve the recipe from my old cooking notebook, buried in the depths of our garage among yellowing letters, fading photos, mixed cassette tapes and my maternity jeans.
After consuming bowl number three in less than 12 hours, I think I'll be going back for those maternity jeans. Or at least sewing an elastic panel into the pants I'm wearing now.
Enjoy. I can't stop.
4 cups rolled oats
2 cups natural almonds
1.5 cups dried cherries
1.5 cups dried mangos
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup water
Pre-heat oven to 220 degrees celsius.
Toast almonds in oven on baking sheet for 10 minutes, shaking periodically to avoid scorching.
Chop almonds and dried cherries in half. Chop mangoes to a manageable nibble size.
Combine brown sugar and water in small pot, bring to the boil, watching carefully all the while, and immediately lower temperature. Combine brown sugar syrup with maple syrup and mix with oats and coconut in large bowl.
Spread oat mixture evenly over large baking sheet (ideally one with a high lip) and place on the middle rack of the oven. If your sheet isn't very large, divide it over two smaller sheets, placing one at the top third of the oven and one at the bottom third, rotating half-way through.
Sprinkle generously with sea salt and toast in oven for 20 minutes, or until oats are a deep mahogany. Follow your nose, on this one, as well as your eyes, and pull the tray out when the house is filled with the scent of carmelizing sugar, but before it hits the tipping point and begins to burn.
Allow oats to cool entirely before adding almonds and cherries. Mix well to ensure even distribution of goodies.
Keep in airtight box.
Note: This is granola of the loose-oat variety. If you prefer chunky nuggets, try upping the syrup content and resist mixing the oats until the very last few minutes of cooking, so that the oats cook more as one large block that you can later break up.