We go through a lot of granola in our house. I usually make a batch on Sunday evening to have for the week. When I saw this particular recipe from Eleven Madison Park (!!!) in the NYT's last Sunday, I was immediately sold. Pistachio and coconut together? Done. I've made it twice already and the first batch was all but gone by Tuesday. Last Sunday, I put my own little spin on it. I subbed out the olive oil for coconut oil and used unsweetened shredded coconut in place of the chips. I also replaced the brown sugar with all maple syrup. The results were pretty delicious.
Last night, having found coconut chips at Whole Foods, I decided to try the recipe again AS IS. No changes. But then, while I was do the tedious job of shelling a cup of pistachios, I started thinking. What spice would be super interesting? Not cinnamon. No. Nutmeg? NO. Ginger? Maybe. What about black cardamom!? So I tried it. Did I mention that talking is frowned upon in my house when there is football on? We all could have missed out on this important discovery had that ban been lifted.
A little bit about black cardamom. It's a weird spice. At the first sniff, you may be completely turned off. The top note, please stay with me here, is kind of like Vick's Vapor Rub. It quickly develops into a woody, smokey, slightly sweet spice. It's complicated to say the least. The smoke notes, though, work really nicely with the maple syrup and overall salty/sweet play of the granola. If you happen to have some black cardamom on hand, give it a try. Green cardamom is not a one for one substitute and had has a completely different flavor profile. It might work well, too, but will have more of a citrus/ginger top note. As a bit of interest, if I haven't droned on enough as it is, cardamom has been used throughout time much like ginger, to calm indigestion and sooth upset stomachs. Not that the small amount used here would have an huge impact on a belly ache. Just thought I'd throw that little nugget in.
But this is a GRANOLA recipe. And a pretty rocking one at that. This might just replace my own go to recipe for a while.
(ever so slightly adapted from the NYT's magazine 10/30/11)
2 3/4 c rolled oats (I used thick organic)
1 c shelled pistachios (I used salted/roasted)
1 c unsweetened coconut chips
1/3 c pumpkin seeds (I used salted roasted pepitas)
1/2 c light brown sugar
1/3 c maple syrup
1/3 c extra virgin olive oil
3/4 c dried sour cherries
1 t freshly ground black cardamom (1-2 pods dry toasted)
Preheat oven to 300ºF.
Heat a small skillet and dry toast the cardamom pods until the begin to release some scent. Whiz them in a grinder and measure out 1 t.
Place the oats, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, coconut chips and cardamom in a large mixing bowl. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the oil, sugar and maple syrup until the sugar has completely dissolved. Fold the liquids into the oat mixture until thoroughly combined.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper. Spend the mixture evenly and bake until golden, about 30-40 minutes. Give it a stir or two while cooking to make sure it browns evenly.
When done, toss in the cherries. As they say in the NYT's article, it is a bullet proof recipe. Make a huge batch and give it some away as holiday/host gifts.