The story of this granola goes back many moons to when I lived in the tiny village of Tivoli, New York. By the time I moved to Friendship Street, I’d long known Tivoli’s Mikee as the talented baker who dropped off several loaves of inexplicably wonderful fresh bread at my co-op every Sunday morning.  But before he opened his own bakery, Mikee was the baker at a little place called Café Pongo.

Café Pongo closed its doors long before I showed up in town, but the restaurant’s cookbook floated around in my social circles all through college, and it was inside that very book — in Tivoli, in 2006 — that I came across this granola recipe.

I can’t say I was a fan of granola at the time. Indeed, I was more than a touch skeptical: as a punk, I eschewed all things hippie, and what single food is more associated with hippies than granola?! On one hand, singing the praises of granola was sure to draw ire from my friends,* but on the other, I was on a real homesteading kick in those days, when every food product I could make from scratch and with dumpstered ingredients felt like I was stickin’ it to The Man.** I figured granola would be a nice, shelf-stable thing to have in a jar in the kitchen cabinet, and so I forged onward, toward my — figuratively and literally — crunchy future.

And you know what? I took one bite of this granola and was totally converted. Maybe my tastebuds had just matured and learned to adore nuts and whole grains, or maybe, as with so many things, the stuff you buy in the grocery store is just stale garbage in comparison to the fresh, homemade thing. (Maybe, too, it was the brown sugar and maple syrup that did it for me.) In any event, nowadays, you can usually find a jar of homemade granola in my kitchen, and I no longer make fun of hippies.***

 

Hudson Valley Granola
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
 
Ingredients
  • 5 cups rolled oats
  • ½ c sesame seeds
  • ½ c chopped pecans
  • ½ c chopped walnuts
  • ½ c sliced almonds
  • ½ c brown sugar
  • 6 Tbsp neutral vegetable oil
  • ½ c maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Line a baking sheet (with sides) with parchment paper or a silpat.
  3. In a large bowl, combine oats, seeds, nuts, and sugar.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together oil, syrup and vanilla.
  5. Pour wet mixture over dry; toss until well-distributed.
  6. Bake 35-40 minutes, flipping a few times.
  7. Transfer granola to a heat-proof bowl or baking sheet and allow to cool fully.
  8. Store in an air-tight container.
Notes
You can technically make this granola without parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, but if your baking sheet is dark, you're going to run the risk of over-browning your granola. Whatever you end up doing, keep a close eye on the granola while it's baking to ensure that it browns evenly and doesn't burn! Burnt granola is the worst.

*J/K, some of my best friends were hippies!
**J/K about the past tense, folks! I may have set my Defiance, Ohio tapes on fire, but self-sufficiency still gives me a thrill.
***J/K, I will probably never not make fun of hippies.