Adaptable Granola


When I first moved back to San Francisco after college, I lived in a drafty old apartment in the Haight, above a psychic and nestled between two vintage shops. It felt like a fitting first-real-apartment space. Our heat didn't work, my bedroom was at one point probably the living room, and one of my roommate was a Peruvian artist who kept opposite hours. 

Around this time I started a book club with some friends. It was a combination of people I grew up with, their new roommates, friends of my sister's etc. This growing group of young women (and one man, Matt, who subsequently married another book club member! literary love!) played a big role in my life then. I liked that the monthly meetups weren't purely work or social. Thoughtful conversation, good food and cheap wine helped balance my life which didn't always feel balanced as a young twenty-something.

Also around this time, book club member Lillie started a BLOG, a term I pretended to understand but didn't for a while. Blogs were new and the technology was clunky. But this ability to share ones personal thoughts online led to Lillie posting her favorite granola recipe, or I should say granola formula. As I opened my cookbook just the other day (my collection of old print-outs, handwritten and stained pages, clippings from newspapers) I realized my go-to granola recipe was still the same one Lillie posted nearly 12 years ago. Many things have changed since then, but the successful formula has stayed the same.

Adaptable Granola
By, Lillian Dignan

This is my favorite kind of recipe, one that is more a guideline where you can use whatever you have on hand. It's not too sweet and the perfect breakfast or mid-day snack.

3 cups of rolled oats
1 cup mixture of seeds/nuts/bran (eg. sunflower seeds, pepitas, sesame seeds, chopped almonds, pecans walnuts, wheat bran)
1 cup shredded (or flaked) unsweetened coconut
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup oil (I like coconut but you can use another neutral oil)
1/2 cup total sweetener + water (honey or maple syrup and I like just a splash of water, add more if you prefer it less sweet)
1 tsp. vanilla
Dried fruit (optional)

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Mix all the dry ingredients together.

I melt my oil, sweetener and water together on low heat until liquified. Let it cool a little then add vanilla and mix into dry ingredients. Spread onto a cookie sheet and bake for 20-30 min, rotating sheet and gently stirring a couple times while cooking. Remove from oven when just turning golden - it is very easy to over bake and will dry out more once out of oven.

Add dried fruit if using and store in sealed jar or tupperware.

Batch above is: pepitas, almond, black sesame with honey and maple syrup. Yum!