I used to think oats and granola go hand in hand, you can’t have one without the other. Oh how narrow minded I was! Striped down to the very basics, granola is toasted grains mixed in with nuts, seeds, and/or dried fruit. The toasting part can be taken one step further to become caramelizing. That involves fat and sugar. My favourite granola recipe, for example, glazes the grains and nuts with olive oil, maple syrup, and brown sugar to create the most addictive caramelized cereal. As for grains, rolled oat is the most common choice but certainly not mandatory. I used a mixture of millet, rolled rye, rolled spelt, and quinoa before. But what if I take a step back from whole grains? That was when matzo granola caught my attention.
A few weeks ago I made my first batch of matzo toffee and could not keep them around long enough. The crunchy (yet bland) unleavened bread was the blank canvas to support decadence like toffee, chocolate, and toasted nuts. Along the same vein, it can also serve as the blank canvas for granola. Just as long as you take the time to smash the matzo to smithereens. Oh what fun!
So I tossed together crumbled matzo, sliced almond, cocoa nibs, and coconut chips. I coated them with syrupy mix of olive oil, maple syrup, and brown sugar. After a long slow toast in the oven, the granola turned into the loveliest shade of dark brown. Maximum caramelization just a hair from being burnt! I scattered tart dried cherries and kosher salt all over and let it cool. I am a huge fan of clumpy granola and this totally hit the spot. Unlike the tiny particles of rolled oats, the shards of matzo offered ample surface area for the toffee-like glaze to cling. I think the sliced almonds and coconut chips also pitched in the help with this great cause. I am so glad I stocked up on matzo when they were on clearance after Easter. I will not be short on the most fantastic granola for some time to come.
Maple Matzo Granola with Cocoa Nibs and Coconut
makes 10 cups
- 5 cups of whole wheat matzo, crumbled to 1-2cm pieces
- 1 cup of coconut chips
- 1 cup of raw sliced almond
- 1 cup of cocoa nibs
- 1/2 cup of medium grade maple syrup
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- 1/2 cup of light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
- 1 cup of chopped dried cherries
- Preheat oven to 325F. Line a 11x17 baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, toss together crumbled matzo, coconut chips, almond, and cocoa nibs.
- In a small mixing bowl, stir together maple syrup, olive oil, and brown sugar.
- Pour syrup mixture into large mixing bowl. Toss until dry ingredients are evenly coated.
- Spread matzo mixture into an even layer in prepared baking sheet. Bake until dark brown and you do not see pools of liquid on the bottom of the pan, about 45 minutes to an hour. Stir the granola every 15 minutes to ensure even baking.
- When you remove the pan of granola from the oven, sprinkle salt and dried cherries all over. The cereal would still be soft at this point but will turn crunchy once cooled. Then you can break them into pieces and store in airtight container.