Dreaming of Kauai: Macadamia Nut Granola

When Will and I were on our honeymoon in Kauai many years ago, we stayed at a Bed-and-Breakfast on the north side of the island.  Though we suspected that it would be a bit kitschy (and it was), we booked their famous “Pineapple Room”—which featured an oval-shaped bed with pineapple-themed bed-covers and window drapery.  The uniqueness of the decoration aside, what we enjoyed most about staying at this place was access to their homemade macadamia nut granola.  It was better—and certainly fresher—than any other granola we had tasted up to that point.

That was 13 years ago, and fancy and expensive granola are—if possible—even more prevalent now than they used to be.  I’ve seen some great-looking granola at Whole Foods and Fresh Market, and I’ve brunched at places (like Chicago’s own Milk and Honey Café) which specialize in making their own.  Unfortunately, good granola is surprisingly expensive and fussy—geared almost too much to the Whole Foods crowd.

One day, I came across a Jamie Oliver recipe (in Jamie’s Food Revolution) for a simple granola.  With only minor modifications—mostly including the use of macadamia nuts—I was able to replicate my recollection of that Kauai bed-and-breakfast granola.  It’s quite simply fabulous.  Of course, it turned out that it’s not cheaper than purchasing some of the niche small-batch-produced granola for sale, but this is one of those instances where the homemade was actually BETTER than restaurant-made.  Try it!


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Place in a large bowl and stir together:
2 cups quick cook oatmeal,
¾ cup whole or halved macadamia nuts,
1/3 cup other nuts (like chopped walnuts, almonds, etc.),
¼ cup sunflower seeds,
2 tablespoons white sesame seeds,
¾ cup unsweetened shredded or grated coconut,
¾ teaspoon cinnamon.

3.  Combine in a measuring cup:
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup canola (or other light oil)

4.  Pour the liquid into the bowl with the oatmeal and combine thoroughly.  Spread onto a jellyroll pan, and put in the preheated oven.

5.  Every 6-7 minutes, take the pan out and stir the mixture and spread again.  Do this about 4 times for a total cooking time of 25-30 minutes until the granola is just a light golden brown and smells toasted and fragrant.

6.  In the meantime, prepare:
½ cup dried strawberries, chopped up
½ cup large golden raisins, halved
½ cup other dried fruits (blueberries, apricots, cranberries, mango, etc.)

7.  Once the granola is ready, remove pan from oven, stir in the dried fruits, and let the mixture cool.

 Heavenly.  It’s actually a shame to add milk to this granola…


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