Your Favorite Genius Olive Oil & Maple Granola, Tweaked

December 15, 2017

Nekisia Davis' Olive Oil and Maple Granola has been a favorite of Food52ers since Creative Director Kristen Miglore first shared it over 5 years ago. This month, our Cookbook Club is cooking through Miglore’s Genius Recipes, and the Genius granola has found a whole new fanbase.

Between the recipe, the related article, and posts within the Cookbook Club, there are hundreds of comments about the granola—many of which are professions of adoration for the sweet and salty combo. Many more are ardent fans sharing how they like to slightly tweak the recipe to make it their own.

New to the Club? Head here for all the details on how to participate and what's ahead for the group.

After combing through your comments, we've gathered up some of these substitutions and additions to help inspire tweaks to your next batch:

Olive Oil

As written, the recipe calls for 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, which Miglore surmises "contributes to the addictive crunchy crust." Georgia Kaye Langston asked about using a nice olive oil that a friend brought her from Tuscany and Miglore advised otherwise, saying:

It's not the best use of a fancy olive oil but it certainly won't hurt, but you might want to save that for just dunking good bread in and drizzling over things as a finishing oil, to really appreciate its flavor.

That doesn't mean there isn't still room to play with the olive oil though, one Food52er used blood orange-infused olive oil and another Meyer lemon-infused, and both were delighted with the results.

Sugar & Maple Syrup

While many Food52ers like the sweetness level just as written, a number prefer it to be slightly less so, and have successfully dialed back the sweetness.

  • Arlene Laudo used 1/4 cup dark brown sugar and 1/2 cup maple syrup and plans to reduce the maple syrup by another 2 tablespoons the next time she makes it.
  • Paula Marchese does exactly as Laudo plans to do, using 1/4 cup dark brown sugar and 6 tablespoons amber maple syrup—exactly half of what the original recipe calls for.


Miglore describes this granola as having smaller clusters, rather than "big, sticky, unwieldy clumps," but for some, like fearlessem, that's "missing the point of granola!" For fellow clump lovers, Windischgirl has a solution: stir 4 beaten egg whites into the mixture before baking.

They did it their way. Photo by Heather Nabers West
Photo by Brian Penkrot
Photo by Bebe Black Carminito


The original recipe doesn't call for any spices—this allows the flavor of the maple syrup to shine through. But some Food52ers have found that warm spices are a welcome addition. Wendy Nevett Bazil adds cardamom, Bebe Black Carminito adds a little cinnamon, and Melanie adds Chinese five-spice powder, clove, cinnamon, and ginger.


As far as granolas go, this one has a relatively short list of dry ingredients: rolled oats, pumpkin seeds, sunflowers seeds, coconut chips, and raw pecans. The flexibility of the recipe leaves a lot of room for swapping these out for other seeds, nuts, grains and adding in other ingredients like dried fruit.

Inspired to try your own?

Here are just some of the items our club has added to their mixes: quinoa, golden raisins, puffed millet, diced candied ginger, silver almonds, puffed rice, walnuts, dried cranberries, pine nuts, sesame seeds, dried pineapple, ground flax seed, toasted wheat germ, walnuts, dried cherries, cashews, pistachios, and mini chocolate chips (the latter added after baking and cooling).

Tell us: How do you make Nekisia Davis' Olive Oil and Maple Granola's your own perfect blend?

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • AntoniaJames
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  • KR
  • HalfPint
I like esoteric facts about vegetables and think ambling through a farmers market is a great way to start the day. My first cookbook, available now, is called Cooking with Scraps.


AntoniaJames December 18, 2017
This was my go-to for several years after the recipe was first posted. I started tweaking it after the first batch, based on family preferences - mainly, 1/3 cup each of oil, maple syrup and brown sugar, no pumpkin seeds, 2 cups of pecan halves, with a good shake of nutmeg into the wet ingredients.
I was strip mining the pecans one November day and realized that those nuts would be a perfect upgrade to our family-favorite holiday nut crescents, so I adapted that recipe to make these maple olive oil praline crescents: People have told me that they thought holiday nut crescents could not be improved upon, until they tasted these. ;o)
P.S. I make big batches of this granola to put it into festive cellophane bags for several super special loved ones to whom I send holiday treats every year.
marcellatp December 17, 2017
I love this recipe and have been baking it since it was posted here years ago. I usually swap the olive oil for coconut oil because we are big coconut lovers here. So good!
KR December 17, 2017
Oh my! I made this yesterday--with variations...and it's just so terribly addicting!!! I didn't have pecans, so used chopped almonds. I didn't have coconut chips (don't like them too much) so subbed with only 1/2 amt of reg shredded coconut (unsweetened). I used a skimpy 1/2 C maple syrup and about 1/4 C brown sugar. I didn't add the salt after it was baked. Added slightly generous teaspoon very good cinnamon and about 1/2 tsp ground ginger.... O.M.G!!! so very very good. This made only 5 cups rather than 7 cups stated in recipe. I can forgive that tho & planning to making another batch for more Christmas presents next week. ...also to get more chunks, don't stir it quite so often, every 15 min. I had to turn off the oven & let it rest about half way through baking b/c I had to run an errand, came back about 2 hours later & continued to back & stirred only once more. There were lovely clusters. So I'll try resting it again at the half-way mark next time. Yes, very pleased with this recipe. : ) Thank you!
HalfPint December 15, 2017
I make this granola with orange-scented olive oil. This recipe is the only granola recipe that I make these days because it's perfect.