This is the best granola I’ve ever had. Period. So, I had to share the recipe with you – even though it isn’t mine. My neighbor gifted it to me.  Prior to its delivery, she texted to tell me that it was her favorite recipe. I’ve been making my own granola for quite some time, and I was pretty sure I’d already discovered my favorite granola recipe. But, I was wrong, hers was better, much better.
Cardamom is a spice I hadn’t thought of including in granola. I’ve always stuck to cinnamon. But, its hint of lemon and mint on the coconut and cashews clusters was delicious.  Speaking of clusters, I learned from her instructions not to stir the granola while it cooks. Her other important tip was to add the chopped dried fruit at the end. This keeps the dried fruit from being, well, too dry.
There is nothing better than gifting a homemade treat.  So, if you’re still considering what kind of gift to give for the holidays, make a sheet pan of this.  I’ve still got gifts to bear for my sons’ teachers, our mailman, and my therapist. Lucky for them, they’ll be getting the best granola I’ve eaten thanks to my foodie neighbor, Alex Kalwerisky. Julia Child was right, “People who love to eat are always the best people.” Delicious recipes like this make loving to eat, easy.
granola spread out that looks like a christmas tree

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Tart Cherry & Cardamom Granola

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  • Author: Jennifer McDaniel
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 24 servings 1x


  • 2 c. rolled oats (sometimes called old fashioned)
  • 1 c. raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 c. raw pecans or cashews
  • 1 c. large flake unsweetened, untoasted (raw) coconut flakes
  • 1/3 c. real maple syrup
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 t. ground cardamom
  • 1 t. ground cinnamon
  • 1 t. kosher salt (use less if you use granulated salt)
  • 1 c. dried fruit (dried cherries, apricots, currants, raisins, etc)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine and mix dry ingredients (EXCEPT coconut flakes)
  3. Add maple syrup, olive oil, vanilla and spices and mix thoroughly.
  4. Spread granola evenly on a lined, rimmed baking sheet either on a silicone mat or parchment paper.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake another 10 minutes. It’s important to keep a close eye so that it doesn’t burn. You want it to be toasty and browned- if it doesn’t look browned in the middle part.
  6. Add coconut flakes and bake 5 minutes longer and check again. DON’T stir! This is what’s going to make all the clusters.
  7. Remove from oven and let sit, undisturbed, until totally cooled.
  8. Transfer to an airtight container, like a large mason jar, for storage, sprinkling in the dried fruit in between.


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 161
  • Sugar: 5.9 g
  • Sodium: 26.9 mg
  • Fat: 8.9 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 17.3 g
  • Fiber: 2.7 g
  • Protein: 4.2 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg