A Granola Worth Celebrating

Granola, according to Wikipedia, was invented in 1863 by Dr. James Caleb Jackson as a food to serve at a health spa in New York. A century later, granola became a staple of the hippy culture in the 1960s and then went mainstream in the 1970s when the Quaker Oats Company, General Mills, and Kellogg’s got involved.

For most of us today, granola is a commodity—a cereal, sometimes dessert-like sweet, modestly healthy, to be eaten for breakfast or while hiking. Most commercial granola is highly flavored and fatty and often overly sweet, a far cry from Dr. Jackson’s original health food.

At Macrina, we sought to create a granola that matched our desires: healthy, energy-rich, flavorful, tasty enough to eat by the handful, and crunchy. Of course, rolled oats would be part of it, but there were so many other whole grains, nuts, seeds and dried fruits to consider. And so many oils to choose from! At our test kitchen, we assembled a grand array of quality choices and started experimenting. We kept at it: adding, then subtracting, then adding again. Baking longer at lower temperatures, then baking hotter and quicker.

Finally, we settled on a recipe we’re proud to call our own. It’s loaded with thick-cut golden oats, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, quinoa, pecans and dried tart and sweet cherries. Brown sugar and maple syrup add a subtle sweetness. Extra virgin olive oil and cinnamon and just enough salt add depth of flavor. It’s perfectly crunchy and addictive enough that you have to be careful when you start to eat it by the handful, but it’s not overly sweet. We even think Dr. Jackson would be as proud to serve it at his health spa as we are at the café. We recommend it on yogurt or with milk and topped with whatever fresh fruit is in season. You’ll find it in our cafés, both ready to eat and packaged in a 12 oz. heat-sealed pouch.