Serious Eats: Recipes

Black and White Granola

Hmm, this might be something to try tomorrow morning, no? Why don't you grab the ingredients this evening? —Ed.

I have to confess, I tend to be an obsessive recipe follower when cooking something for the first time. I think it has something to do with learning how to bake sweet things when I was little. "If you just throw some baking soda into your cake, you will be sorely disappointed," was the loud and clear message I got from my mother. But, as I learned, if you let measurements and chemistry do their work, you'll almost always be greeted by something beautiful when you open the oven door.

GranoIa on the other hand, is where I play hard and fast. My rule of thumb when it comes to granola: Follow your taste buds and you won't be disappointed. I don't like most industrial cereals and always find granola in bins or bags at the health food store to be way too sweet or wildly expensive. But, oh, homemade granola you get me every time, and I think there are plenty of others out there just like me.

When I interned at Gourmet, I was asked to research what dish readers were requesting the most for the You Asked For It column. It turned out to be granola by a landslide. My hypothesis was that when people are on vacation at inns or fancy hotels, they get great granola for breakfast and they dream about recreating it at home. But so few people do it. Embrace making your own granola. It's cost-effective and so much healthier than the packaged stuff. Plus, it takes one easy hour on the weekends and you'll be set for days of great breakfasts.

This recipe was inspired by the granola sold by Nekisia Davis of Early Bird Foods at the Brooklyn Flea. Davis uses premium ingredients, good olive oil, and doesn't shy away from the salt. That's my general granola making strategy too. But whether you find pistachios or giant yellow flame raisins or almond extract or tart cherries in my breakfast bowl all depends on what I'm feeling like and what I've got in my cupboard.

In Davis' original recipe she uses brown sugar and Grade A maple syrup. I think maple syrup is plenty sweet on its own, so I cut the brown sugar out use darker Grade B syrup in my recipe.

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The "black and white" in the recipe's title comes from copious amounts of unsweetened shredded coconut, poppy seeds, and Gomasio (black and white sesame seeds). The poppy seeds were left over from a cake and the salty Gomasio was just looking good at that moment. They are both unconventional granola ingredients, but I love the extra crunch that they lend. Most granola recipes have you bake the ingredients for 30 minutes or less. I take my granola to at least 50 minutes. The ingredients start out pasty and sad looking, but they end up beautifully browned.

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Black and White Granola

This recipe makes enough for a couple good sized bowls of granola and yogurt. However, it is easily doubled—so if you've got more than one person eating in the mornings, I recommend you double the recipe and bake the ingredients on 2 rimmed baking sheets.

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