Are you watching the Olympics? I can't get enough! How is it that every four years I am stoked to watch sports that I don't even remember existed the other 1,445 days in between? Ryan and I have stayed up irresponsibly late all week to catch every last competition. I can't take my eyes off of Katie Ledecky and her full-pool lead. Or New Jersey's own Laurie Hernandez and her Disney princess eyes. Or Ryan Lochte and his 8,000 calorie days. Or, my Olympic hero: Aly Raisman's mom.
Fencing, beach volleyball, long-distance running, synchronized diving... I'll watch it all. The athletes not only have super-human talent and seemingly boundless charm and energy, but also seem to thoroughly enjoy their craft so much. It's infectious. Though I can't say it's inspired me beyond my usual dog walking regimen.
Sadly for me and Ryan, our daily diet is a bit more restrained than Lochte's. But most days it includes this granola. I make a new batch every few weeks, and we bring some with yogurt to work with us most days of the week.
I've tried many granola recipes over the years, but I always come back to this one. It's a winner. For one, it's fruit-free. Though I love raisins and dried fruit, I want them nowhere near my granola. Second, the ground cinnamon and ginger perfumes the whole mixture with a little something more interesting to complement the sweeteners. Third, it's full of good stuff - almost as much nuts and seeds as oats, and little added fat. It's also the perfect texture balance - crunchy, without being jaw breaking, and soft around the edges. Whether you're training for an international athletic competition or just aiming for a delicious energy boost near the end of your work day, I hope you enjoy!
Adapted from Orangette, adapted from Nigella Lawson
2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup raw whole almonds
1/2 cup raw pecan halves
1/2 cup raw walnut halves
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
6 tbsp brown sesame seeds
6 tbsp dark brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp kosher salt
6 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
1 tbsp sunflower oil (or other neutral oil, such as canola)
2 tbsp honey
scant 3 tbsp maple syrup
Yield: 7 cups of granola.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Get out a rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan (I use the latter) and set aside.
Add dry ingredients together in a large bowl and stir to combine, ensuring that the spices are distributed evenly among the nuts, seeds, and oats. In a small bowl, add the wet ingredients together and whisk to combine. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and stir until thoroughly mixed. The mixture should clump nicely, with the wet ingredients evenly distributed, and neither be too wet nor too dry.
Spread the mixture evenly in the roasting pan. Don't be afraid to pack it all in together. Bake for 50 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven, and stir the granola around in the pan with a spatula. It will seem soft when hot, but it will clump up and harden as it cools. Store in an airtight container.