Eleven Madison Park's Granola

My typical hiking lunch includes homemade sourdough with PB&J, pretzels or chips, granola, and farmers market fruit. It hits all the right notes from flavor to much needed salt and energy. I've experimented with several different granola recipes over the years but never found anything so delicious I couldn't put it down. Enter Eleven Madison Park.

Eleven Madison Park's granola inconspicuously occupies the last few inches on the last page of EMP's cookbook. It's better than a deconstructed cookie and I'm inclined to ruin my dinner if there's a bag of the stuff laying around. This granola has become my go-to travel snack thanks to its shelf life and ideal balance of crunchy, salty, and sweet.

The recipe calls for dried sour cherries but I swap in whatever dried fruit I have on hand. This has included pluots and plums from Frog Hollow Farm in addition to some cherries that I dried in the oven. The nuts can also be changed around depending on what you have. I ran out of pumpkin seeds one day and ended up pairing pecans with the pistachios.

Though there's flexibility with the inclusions, I'm not inclined to mess with the oil, sugar, and salt ratios. I've read that some people reduce the salt but this sodium lover thinks the balance is just right.

Full disclosure is that I haven't yet made anything else from my EMP cookbook. That being said, it's lovely and full of inspiration.

Recipe Tips

Coconut Whisperer

The coconut flakes are the ingredient I watch most closely when making granola. If the flakes get too dark along the edge, the batch is often overcooked or close to it. The coconut should be light golden throughout and deep golden but not dark brown along the edges.

Measure All The Things

Even though it's "just granola", I weigh all of the ingredients to ensure the salty and sweet balance is consistent. Ingredients are listed in cups/grams but not ounces so I will try to update that part of the post next time I make the granola.

Stirring

For even texture and browning, it's important to stir every 15 minutes, shortening that window towards the end. Additional instructions and cues below.

Patience

The granola will not seem to have achieved peak crunch when it comes out of the oven. Just give it time to cool and the texture will set up.

Original vs. Adapted

Nutty

The original recipe calls for 1 cup of pistachio nuts. I cut that back by about 1/4 cup.

Cooking Time

The suggested cooking time is 15-25 minutes but I find it takes at least 45-50 minutes.

Farmers | Artisans

I make an effort to source my food from California artisans with a special focus on the Santa Monica Farmers Market. Below is a list of the folks who contributed to this dish.

Tools

  • OXO Scale - Have you hugged your scale today?
  • Mixing Bowl with Silicone Bottom - I always reach for this bowl when mixing by hand.
  • Baking Sheet - I have been using the same two Chicago Metallic baking sheets for many moons now. Though I had no idea what brand or type of sheet to buy at the time (I probably still don't), my pans have done a great job. Cookies and roasted vegetables all come out perfectly.

Ingredients

  • 2 3/4 cups (264 grams) organic rolled oats
  • 1 cup (60 grams) unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 1/3 cup (50 grams) pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2-3/4 cup (75-90 grams) raw unsalted pistachio nuts Note: How nutty you want the granola is up to you.
  • 1 tablespoon (10 grams) Diamond kosher salt Note: I have also used Penzey's kosher salt at the same weight.
  • 1/2 cup (96 grams) packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup (70 grams) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup (100 grams) maple syrup Note: I have been using Crown Maple Syrup Dark.

Instructions

  • Line a baking sheet with foil and then lay a piece of parchment (cut to fit) on top of that.
  • Move the oven rack to the middle position and pre-heat the oven to 300°F.
  • Combine the dry ingredients (oats, coconut, seeds, nuts, and salt) in a slip-proof bowl.
  • Combine the maple syrup, brown sugar, and olive oil in a small saucepan and heat over a low flame until the sugar is just melted. Stir occasionally. Alternatively, place the ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl and heat in 15 second increments, stirring at each interval. This takes 30-45 seconds.
  • Once the oven is ready, add the olive oil mixture to the oats and stir thoroughly to combine. Make sure all of the oats are coated.
  • On the lined baking sheet, spread the oat mixture in an even layer and place in the oven.
  • Set two timers - one for 15 minutes and the other for 60 minutes. Browning will take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour.
  • At 15 minutes, stir the granola by pulling the outer edges of the oats in and pushing the center oats out. Mix it around and then spread in an even layer. Set the timer for 15 minutes.
  • At 30 minutes, stir. Set the timer for 10 minutes.
  • At 40 minutes, stir. The coconut is medium golden around the edge. Set the timer for 10 minutes.
  • At 50 minutes, stir. For my oven, the granola is done or close to it at this point.
  • Carefully pick the foil up by either end and transfer it to a wire rack. Don’t leave the granola on the hot pan to cool. Note: Don't worry if the granola doesn't seem crispy. It will set up during the cooling process.

Storage

The granola can be stored in an airtight container or Ziploc bag for several days. I often throw in a food-safe silica packet for good measure. You can also freeze granola though I haven't tested the effect of long-term cold storage.

The Grand Canyon

As the intro mentioned, EMP's granola is a regular part of my hiking routine. The above photo is from the South Kaibab Trail in the Grand Canyon. We made our 4th annual trip this year and it's one of our favorite places to visit. Awe-inspiring, humbling, spectacular - hard to describe just how incredible this natural wonder is. Highly recommended.

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