I can’t figure out why granola is still associated with health. Except for batches I’ve made myself, most granola I’ve encountered has a ridiculously sweet base and is probably also tossed with candied fruit and chocolate chips. Don’t get me wrong, I’m into it. Seriously—I have mixed granola into a vanilla milkshake on more than one occasion when left alone. I think, however, when it comes to sweet granola, we should steer into the skid. Perhaps the key to really good granola is to stop trying to disguise a health food with sugar. Instead, allow for something moderately sweet to be the granola’s base, then layer in fat and salt accordingly for balance. OK, what I’m trying to say is this: cookie granola.
Cookie granola works best with crisper cookies, so start with whatever is laying out on your counter. You should probably use homemade cookies to be in full control of flavor, but as the Ina Garten memes would say, store-bought is fine. Sugar, peanut butter, and chocolate chip cookies work best. Oatmeal raisin will also do, but you’re about to add more oats to this granola, so that’s your call.
Toss a bunch of cookies in a large zipper-lock bag and crunch them into smallish pieces (about the size of almonds) with a rolling pin. Scoop out 2 ½ cups of cookie crumbs and pour them into a large bowl. Mix in ¼ cup rolled oats, 1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut, 1 cup of chopped nuts and seeds ½ teaspoon kosher salt, and 2 tablespoons olive oil.
Separate an egg and save the yolk for another recipe. Whip the white with a whisk until frothy, then fold into the granola mixture.
Spread the granola onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Slide the tray into a 300ºF oven and bake for 40-50 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Granola is extremely sensitive to ovens, so also just pull the tray out whenever the mixture is toasted and dry.
Milk and cookies is clearly a thing for a reason, so cookie granola is best munched on with a river of milk. Unsweetened nut milks actually pair quite well with cookie granola, but a heavy pour of 2 percent with a splash of half-and-half is also very good. Cookie granola can also be sprinkled into plain yogurt, scattered atop frosted cakes, or free-poured into a carton of ice cream.