A meal at Eleven Madison Park is captivating – an exquisite parade of culinary jewels to be savored mouthful by grinning mouthful, and the delight doesn’t stop when the last trace of dessert is cleaned from the plate. Guests are sent home with a jar of Chef Humm’s signature granola – intended, I presume, for the next day’s breakfast, although I definitely made a dent in mine on the cab ride home after an unforgettable dinner celebrating a friend’s birthday. Well, there was a fair lot of wine..and that wicked frozen slushy bourbon and concord grape spoonable libation…
A composition of sweet, tart and salty flavors delivered through crisp and chewy bites make this granola irresistible. Thank you, Chef Daniel Humm, for creating what might be the perfect formula for granola. I made a few customizations – not enough to reinvent the wheel, or to barely even loosen a bolt. Just minor tweaks to fashion the addictive mixture using what I keep on hand, and to edge up the nutrient content, since I can’t seem to keep my hands out of the granola jar.
The recipe is written with Chef Humm’s original list of ingredients; my slight changes and ingredient preferences are indicated.
Eleven Madison Park’s Granola (via Serious Eats)
Adapted by Heidi Robb
2 3/4 cups rolled oats (use gluten-free if that is your preference)
*1 cup shelled pistachios
1/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 cup coconut unsweetened shaved coconut flakes (not shredded)
**1 tablespoon salt
***1/2 cup brown sugar
****1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup maple syrup, grade B is preferable
3/4 cup dried tart cherries
Preheat oven to 300. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silpat.
In a medium bowl, combine the oats, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, coconut flakes and salt.
In a small saucepan combine the brown sugar, olive oil and maple syrup. Over medium heat, cook, whisking until the sugar has dissolved. Pour over the oat mixture and stir to coat.
Spread the oat mixture over the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes, or until lightly golden, stirring the mixture after 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool 10 minutes. Stir in the cherries. Cool completely before storing.
* I have been absolutely spoiled by the flavor and texture of Sicilian pistachios for use in cooking and baking – no other I’ve tasted compares. However, priced in the realm of 60.00 per lb., and the at the rate I can plow through this granola, Sicilian pistachios fall into the category of a luxury item. I’m rarely without a stash of Freddy Guys Hazelnuts (Oregon filberts) – truly the king of hazelnuts. Meaty and sweet, the hazelnuts pair ideally with the gorgeous tart cherries, also sourced from Oregon. $12.00 per lb. makes this nutty choice palatable in every way. I’m sure almonds, walnuts or pecans would be tasty alternatives.
** For salt, I use unrefined sea salt.
*** I was thrilled to receive a bag of Rancho Gordo’s granulated piloncillo (the more familiar piloncillo cones are a bit of a pain to grate or grind), as a holiday gift. The smoky caramel and molasses flavor of this Mexican sweetener works beautifully here, and being an unrefined product, benficial trace minerals remain, making piloncillo a healthier sweetening option.
**** My go-to olive oil comes from Chaffin Family Orchards in California. I buy it by the gallon. Flavorful, yet soft enough to use as my “neutral” oil. That Chaffin oils are unrefined and grown and produced in a non-toxic, sustainable environment gives me extra reason to be happy with my purchases.