By York Avenue

I pretty much worship food writer Melissa Clark. She's written two cookbooks of her own, in addition to tons of others in collaboration with different chefs. She writes two columns for The New York Times Dining section : A Good Appetite, where she shares interesting and delicious recipes, and Restaurant Takeaway, where she re-creates restaurant dishes at home. I love her videos and just find her to be very charming. Watch this one with her and her daughter-it is seriously adorable (and they're making cake, so of course I love it). Her recipe style is focused on fresh, seasonal ingredients (one of her cookbooks is divided by season-so helpful!), but it's not like she's trying to be a "healthy" chef. Her recipes just strike the perfect balance between indulgence and health.

I've made a lot of her recipes multiple times, but none as often as her Olive Oil Granola. As far as I'm concerned, it's the perfect way to make granola-slightly sweet and slightly salty, with a great flavor from the olive oil and the perfect crunchy, crispy texture. It's also endlessly adaptable, which is why I've included my own version of the recipe below (I just tweaked the original a bit).

If you're focused on healthy eating, I highly recommend that you check out this blog post by Melissa Clark, where she tests the recipe to see low she can get the sugar and oil (ie, how healthy she can make the granola), without losing it's essential crunchy, sweet granola-ness. I cut the sugar when I'm making the granola on a consistent basis (like if I'm eating it every day), but this time I hadn't made it in a while, so I let myself do the full amount of brown sugar and maple syrup. It's absolutely great for breakfast, (very filling due to the nuts and oil), or for a snack. I eat it with a big dollop of plain or vanilla whole-milk yogurt and sometimes top it with raisins.

Olive Oil Granola (adapted slightly from Melissa Clark)
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped (I've also subbed in pecans)
3/4 almonds, chopped
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup unsweetened coconut chips
1/3 cup ground flax seeds (I've also used wheat germ)
1/2 cup olive oil
3/4 cup maple syrup (you can cut this down to 1/2 cup to make it less sweet)
1/3 cup brown sugar (I've cut this down to 2 tablespoons to de-sweeten)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (this has a very strong flavor so make sure you know you like it! Otherwise you can sub in ground nutmeg, ground ginger, or just double the cinnamon)

Mix all the ingredients together in a big bowl. Spread evenly on a parchment-covered rimmed baking sheet and bake at 300 degrees for 45 minutes, stirring every ten minutes or so. You can eat dry, or as I have it, topped with whole milk yogurt (plain or vanilla), and raisins. Sub in any dried or fresh fruit that you like!

P.S. This will make your apartment smell so good. Also, it makes lots of chunks-who doesn't love granola chunks?