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Maple-Olive Oil Granola with Cocoa Nibs, Hazelnuts and Cherries

If I had to guess, I’d say that granola makes up about 30% of my diet. You see, five days a week, my typical breakfast involves yogurt, granola, and fresh fruit. I also have a naughty habit of standing in the kitchen, snacking on granola straight from the jar after I’ve already finished my breakfast.  On occasion, I’ll have a bowl of oatmeal instead.

But let’s talk about granola. There are usually two glass jars filled with it on my counter at any given time. I often make a fresh batch on weeknight evenings, mixing everything, spreading it out on a baking sheet, and then working on a blog post while it bakes. It only requires the occasional stir and takes literally 5 minutes to pull together. The thing about granola is that it is infinitely flexible: you choose your grains, nuts, dried fruits, sweeteners and nutritional extras (like flax seeds and wheat germ), so it’s a good idea to stock up on your favorites from the bulk bin.

For years, I was addicted to this stuff. I’d buy boxes and boxes at Trader Joe’s. You’d think I was stocking up in case of a shortage (I do that in general, though). And then one day, I realized I could make granola at home, and make it however I liked, and I never looked back. For the same reason that I have not become a regular bread baker, I imagine that some people will never make a habit of whipping up their own granola at home. There are a handful of fantastic artisanal granola brands out there so seek them out if you don’t want to commit the time and effort. If you eat as much granola as I do, you should consider making yours at home for a few reasons:

Homemade granola is healthier. Since you control what goes into it, you know there are no preservatives and much less sugar than what you’d find in the store-bought kind.
Homemade granola is cheaper. Learn to shop the bulk bin (Erin has some tips!) and you can be well on your way to saving some serious cash. I buy my oats for less than $1/pound and find that nuts and dried fruit are both cheaper when you buy them in bulk. The bonus is that you only need to buy what you’ll use.
Homemade granola is tastier. Like all things homemade, granola you make at home is better than the stuff you’ll buy in a box from the store.

Today I’m celebrating the arrival of a special blog friend’s baby; a few fellow food bloggers have come together to throw her a virtual baby shower and I’m thrilled to contribute a recipe for my favorite granola of late. Since Lisa is gluten-free, I imagine she’d prefer making this with gluten-free oats, though I do know that not all GF folks are sensitive to oats. If we were all meeting in person, I’d bring jars of granola as little gifts for people, and for Lisa, I’d make a HUGE batch because I know pretty soon she’ll probably be spending some time away from the kitchen and with her soon-to-be-here little boy.

Lisa, I’m so thrilled for you, and hope that someday soon, your little man and my little lady can have a real-life play date.

Check out what my fellow bloggers are cooking up for Lisa’s shower:

A Thought For Food | Scalloped Potato Gratin
Bev Cooks | Kale and Sage Pesto Crostini with Roasted Veggies
Turntable Kitchen | Maple-Olive Oil Granola with Cocoa Nibs, Hazelnuts and Cherries
Yes I Want Cake | Carrot Cake Cupcakes
Family Fresh Cooking  | Maple Pumpkin Spice Popcorn
What’s Gaby Cooking | Chocolate Dipped Meringues
Two Peas and a Pod | Vegetable Quinoa Soup
Foodie Crush | Crab Salad Sweet Potato Chip Bites
Simple Bites | Maple Pumpkin Pie
Three Many Cooks | Chocolate-Peanut Chex Mix
Shutterbean | Tiny Chicken Taquitos
Heather Christo Cooks | Butternut Squash Bacon Scones
Eat Live Run | Salted Caramel Chocolate Cookie Bars
Aggies Kitchen | Iced Apple Cinnamon Tea
Reluctant Entertainer | Mascarpone Marmalade Bites
Eat the Love | Roasted White Chocolate Berry Tart (Gluten Free)

Maple-Olive Oil Granola with Cocoa Nibs, Hazelnuts and Cherries

Note: I love the chocolate-y crunch of the cocoa nibs in my granola and have become a bit obsessed with adding them to my granola. I’ve used honey instead of maple syrup before (though you may want to warm and melt it first), and I’ve also added 1/2 cup of wheat germ for extra crunch. Play around, just make sure to not skimp on the oil…

3 cups of old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup of sunflower seeds
3/4 cup of hazelnuts
1/4 cup of pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
2 tablespoons of cocoa nibs
2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of freshly-ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 cup of pure maple syrup
1/2 cup of olive oil
pinch of coarse sea salt
1/3 – 1/2 cup of dried cherries (to your preference)

1. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F. Combine all of the granola ingredients, except the dried cherries, in a large bowl and mix well using a wooden spoon. You want everything to be well coated in the spices, oil, and maple syrup.
2. Transfer the mixture to a large rimmed baking sheet, spreading it evenly to the edges and pressing it down flat using your wooden spoon.
3. Bake in the oven for about 30 – 40 minutes, checking and stirring every 10-15 minutes or so, as needed. Be sure to flatten the granola back down after stirring each time. The granola is done when everything looks golden and toasty.
4. Let cool for about 5-8 minutes before stirring in the cherries (I find that this helps create some of those fabulous granola ‘chunks’). Transfer to glass jars and store at room temperature.

Musical Pairings: Jorge Ben – Africa Brasil + Maple-Olive Oil Granola with Cocoa Nibs, Hazelnuts and Cherries

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Posted by Kasey

Kasey is the food editor and co-founder of Turntable Kitchen. She loves dark chocolate, warm crusty bread, and traveling to new places. She speaks Russian, but does not like vodka.

  • Aggie

    Oh it doesn’t get much better than homemade granola…this looks amazing. I love snacking on it pretty much any time of day. Congrats to Lisa!! 🙂

  • Loretta E

    I’m a big believer in homemade over store-bought with very few exceptions! Love this granola…

  • I love the idea of adding cocoa nibs; I’m pretty much incapable of making granola that doesn’t involve chocolate in some form!

  • I’m a sucker for homemade granola and this one has all of my favorite things in it! I know Lisa would love it too!

  • I love this! Homemade granola is the best — I love how you added the cocoa nibs, too!

  • Sandy @ RE

    My family loves homemade granola. I usually send my 2 sons in college a big ziploc when they come home. Lisa is going to LOVE this! Nice to meet you, too!

  • I’d like ten jars. What a perfect addition to the celebration!

  • amanda areias

    Hello my friend, how are your doing? I can see things are getting better and better over here. Just came to say hi and ended up finding a superb recipe and a genial idea. Love, love, love, the virtual baby shower 🙂

  • heather @

    definitely giving this a whirl! i have some cocoa nibs that need using up anyway, plus i am needing a change from the chai granola i’ve been eating for months!

  • WithStyleGrace

    you really can’t beat homemade granola! It’s a staple in our home. Thank you so much for joining the baby shower, so incredibly thoughtful and yes, someday we’ll get our little ones together for a real life play date! xoxo

  • I still haven’t tried cocoa nibs – got to find them! What a fun way to celebrate Lisa’s first baby!

  • Megan Gordon

    Beautiful! Hooray for granola! I taught a whole-grain class this past weekend and tried to get people sold on muesli today … not as much luck. Nope. Yours looks lovely. I’m excited to have more time to experiment with new flavors soon! Hope you’re feeling well + happy, K!

  • Yay! I love homemade granola! Your recipe seems pretty close to mine, though I never thought to add cocoa nibs to my granola. So going to try that next time. And yay for the bulk food section! I buy my pistachios there, already deshelled, to add to my granola…

  • Maria

    I pinned this recipe yesterday and I am still thinking about it. Thanks so much for coming to Lisa’s shower! xo

  • Nicole Waterman

    LOVE LOVE LOVE granola at the moment, can’t wait to have a go at making my own. Great post!

  • I love snacking on granola anytime, too!

  • Thanks, Loretta! I’m glad you like it!

  • Oh the cocoa nibs are really special in this…I think I’m just a few batches away from putting actual chocolate in my granola 🙂

  • Thanks, Brian! I’m glad you think Lisa will like it 🙂

  • Thanks! The cocoa nibs are a great addition – love them!

  • Thanks, Sandy! I hope she likes it! Nice meeting you as well. 🙂

  • Hahah! I’ll have to make a bigger batch 😉

  • Amanda! Long time no hear! How are you my friend?? Things are going well – did you know Matt and I are expecting a baby? I’m due in January! I hope you are well…miss your words and photos. xo

  • Ohhh chai granola sounds fabulous! I might have to try that and switch up the routine.

  • Lisa, I’m so thrilled for you and hope you were surprised by the little shower we put together (well, Brian et al put together haha). I can’t wait to hear how you’re doing! xo

  • Jeanette, I buy mine from the bulk bin, but stores like Whole Foods should have them fully stocked!

  • Do it! I like to stir dark chocolate chips in when the granola is still warm (but not hot) and you end up with the best chocolatey clumps where it has started to melt. It’s so good.

  • Thanks, darling! I like muesli, but I have to admit that it really doesn’t hold a candle to granola for me. I hope your class went well – will you be teaching more?? I’m eager to see what other flavors you have in the works! You inspired me with the cocoa nibs! I’ve been putting them in granola ever since. xoxo

  • I just recently started adding cocoa nibs to my granola (inspired by my friend Megan!) I totally buy pistachios from the bulk bin, too, and often add them to my granola. We are clearly on the same wavelength 🙂

  • Thanks for hosting, Maria! xo

  • Nicole, granola is definitely worth trying -it’s so easy, and quite delicious. Cheers!

  • That sounds like pretty much the best thing ever. DONE!

  • a recipe swap! here’s the chai one i make:

  • Kate Curnes

    I think I made about a million pounds of granola when I was pregnant with my second, so I’ve kind of OD’ed on it, but this combination may bring me back!

  • Jacqui

    I do the exact same thing! Even this morning I ate a bowl of yogurt topped with some homemade granola and soon after I was finished my hand was in the jar grabbing more to munch on, ha! Glad I’m not the only one : )

  • sarah kieffer

    This sounds fantastic. I put cacao nibs in some granola bars I made last week and loved it – we must be on the same wavelength. 🙂 The added little crunch was so nice.

  • Hazelnuts, cherries, and cocoa nibs? It’s like you made this granola just for me! 😉

  • v m

    This is fantastic! I used almonds in place of the pumpkin and sunflower seeds, and used walnut oil since I had it. This may replace pumpkin cranberry granola as my go-to.

  • Ohh, I can never OD on granola…I’m pretty sure 🙂 Hope you give this a try!

  • I’m glad there are more folks like me out there! I totally did it this morning :0)

  • We must be! I’ve been on a cocoa nib kick..trying to find more ways to use them!

  • I love when that happens!

  • I have never made granola because I don’t trust myself around the stuff! No doubt I’d devour it all while standing at the counter in the kitchen (I’m so glad I’m not the only one who does that). This granola sounds stellar, though, I just might have to try it.

  • Hahah, I love how many closet granola-sneakers are out there 😉

  • So glad to hear you enjoyed the recipe! Sunflower seeds + walnut oil sounds like a wonderful combination.

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