Olive Oil Granola with Cherries and Pecans
I recently made this granola on my own blog, so naturally I was hesitant to write about it here. But you know what? Every time I crack open my jar of granola in the morning, I feel like singing from the rooftops. And I've made this recipe two additional times since writing about it, and have discovered a few tweaks and changes I'm excited to share with you. It's now utterly perfect.
Now, do you all remember the craze last fall when everyone was talking about the New York Times' Olive Oil Granola recipe? It seemed like food bloggers and food writers couldn't get enough. I began seeing it slowly pop up in little area cafes and my friend's mom made me a batch after a particularly hard week at work. I was hooked. But I never made the stuff on my own because I've always had a recipe I stick by. You know your old standards that you just can't cheat on? Yeah, that's my granola. The one I started making while living in Boulder, CO that uses orange juice for sweetener. Kind of a cliche (if you've ever visited Boulder, CO).
Then lately, I've noticed this resurgence of recipes calling for olive oil instead of butter or more traditional vegetable oil. It's obviously cool health-wise, but it also lends a very distinct flavor to baked goods that you just can't achieve another way. If you're making brownies or cakes with a distinct flavor, it doesn't really matter what type of olive oil you're using. In my humble opinion, it makes little sense to use your good stuff. However, for mildly flavored cakes or delicate cookies, I'd use a extra-light cold pressed olive oil--it's really perfectly suited for baking because it's relatively free of strong olive-oil aroma or flavor.
Now for some conversions so you can try experimenting with your favorite recipes at home. A few months ago, I visited We Olive in the Marina. They gave out a cool conversion chart to help clarify how to experiment with the new baking method. After much googling and light research, I realized there are differing opinions on these substitutions--like anything, experts like to weigh in with their tweaks and theories. But I've used the below conversion in my own baking numerous times and it seems to be the most popular out there. Like anything, experiment and find out what works for you.