Maple Pecan Granola

IMG_0772Happy New Year! I hope your 2016 has been wonderful so far 😊 As I spent the last of 2015 working like crazy (nannying, catering two parties for my friend David, making regular cookie deliveries to a jeweler downtown, figuring out this food blogging thing, etc), traveling to Texas and back, and making dinner for 300 of my closest acquaintances, I hope 2016 brings a lot of naps. And real food. Don’t get me wrong, I love cookies and pie and cake, but since I’ve eaten those things at regular intervals for the last eight weeks, I am finding myself craving vegetables. So this month, I’m going to make a little effort to post some healthier recipes. There will still be plenty of cookies (because cookies), but I plan to post a few whole grain items and savory dishes, just for balance!

 I’m starting this healthier January with a favorite: Maple Pecan Granola. Super crispy, crunchy granola coated in a salty-sweet mixture of maple syrup and olive oil. This recipe comes from the brilliant Molly Wizenberg. She writes a long-running blog, has published two books, and co-owns (almost) three restaurants in Seattle with her husband, Brandon. Oh, and she and her friend, author Matthew Amster-Burton, have a hilarious weekly podcast called Spilled Milk that I absolutely love. If you see me walking down the street with headphones on, that is almost certainly what I’m listening to. Sometimes they make recipes to taste together, and other times they taste junk foods from various countries, and while ostensibly that doesn’t seem like it would be laugh-out-loud funny, it totally is. All that is to say, I first heard about this particular recipe on their Granola episode. It was already very simple, but I’ve pared it down even further.

 This granola goes well with just about any combination of fruit and yogurt, and I think a tablespoon or two could really amp up some oatmeal. Maple Pecan Granola does not have huge clusters since there aren’t a ton of sweeteners or add-ins, but the texture is so crisp that you won’t miss them. The magic here is in the simplicity. Mix together five ingredients, spread on a pan, bake in a low oven (stirring occasionally to prevent burning), and let cool. That’s it. This granola keeps well in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three weeks. If you have a large family or want to give some away as gifts, this recipe doubles easily.

With only five ingredients, you might think this recipe could be a little…boring…but it is so much more than the sum of its parts. If you need more excitement with your breakfast, you’re in luck! This recipe is infinitely adaptable. Don’t like pecans? Replace them with any nut or seed that you love. Wish there were dried fruit or chocolate? Stir in some chopped dates or semisweet chocolate chips while the granola is cooling. Maple Pecan Granola can take almost anything you throw at it😊

Take this recipe and make it your own this year.

 Maple Pecan Granola
adapted from Granola No. 5 by Molly Wizenberg
makes about five cups

1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup olive oil*
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3 cups old fashioned oats
2 cups chopped pecans*

Preheat oven to 300F. Line a sheet pan with parchment. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together maple syrup, olive oil, and salt. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in oats and pecans. Spread mixture to cover the sheet pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes, stirring every fifteen minutes to prevent burning. Let granola cool completely on the pans. Serve with yogurt and fruit, or milk of choice.

Store granola in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three weeks.

Notes:

1. Melted coconut oil may be substituted.
2. You may use any nut or seed that you prefer.

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