This recipe was inspired by about a dozen granola recipes that I have tried and loved, especially Smitten Kitchen's big cluster granola and Nekisia Davis' olive oil granola. The combination of olive oil and salt gives it an almost savory quality and the golden syrup balances it out without making it overpoweringly sweet. The incorporation of egg whites serves as glue to stick big clumps of the granola together if you like it chunky like I do. If you don’t like chunky granola, just leave the egg whites out and stir the granola every 15 minutes or so while it’s in the oven. —Michelle Barry
about 16 cups
unsweetened coconut flakes or a mixture of coconut flour and coconut flakes
Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven, and preheat to 300F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment.
Boil water in a kettle or small saucepan and pour over dates until they are just covered. Add a couple of teaspoons of vanilla extract, orange juice, brandy or rum to the water-date mixture if you wish (this will infuse them with a little more flavor) and set aside for about 20 minutes.
Place the oats, nuts, coconut flakes/flour, salt, spices (if using) into a large bowl, and stir well. Add the golden syrup and olive oil, and stir to evenly coat.
Strain dates, discarding soaking liquid, and chop (I like to chop them roughly but you know how you like them). Add the chopped dates to the dry ingredients.
Whisk egg whites until frothy. Stir the egg whites into the granola mixture until they are evenly incorporated.
Divide the mixture between the two prepared sheet pans. After about 20 minutes, use a large spatula to turn large the granola over, keeping it in large pieces.
Rotate pans front to back and bottom to top. Bake 20-30 minutes longer, until the whole pan is an even, toasted, golden color.
Remove the pans from the oven and allow to cool completely.
Once the granola is cool, break into whatever size chunks suit your fancy.