Apparently my teenage daughters have been waiting all their lives for me to start making granola. They scarf this up like there’s no tomorrow.

Who knew? And why didn’t anyone sit me down over a latte and tell me that it literally takes 5 minutes of mixing and then about an hour and twenty minutes hands free in the oven? And that the whole house would smell like maple pecan breakfast?

And its so easy to vary according to what’s in your pantry. I’ve taken this base maple pecan recipe now and added finely chopped fresh apple, chocolate chips, but this is my absolute favorite version (after I figured out you can’t just put dried fruit in granola, it becomes molar-breaking hard. you apparently have to soak the fruit in warm/hot water for 30 minutes before).

And the best thing of all? For people like me who love sweets but don’t want a lot of sugar….it’s super easy to adjust amounts of maple syrup or use agave or whatever you like!

(I like only slightly sweet with a salty flavor reminiscent of salted caramel)

Remember the following so you have terrific, non-teeth breaking, clumpy granola:

*Don’t stir or touch it until COMPLETELY cooled. Seriously, put it in the oven, take it out, don’t touch it. This leads to lovely clumps.

*Soak those dried fruits in warm/hot water! Otherwise they become inedible chunks of fruity granite due to long oven time

*Make half a recipe at at time. I know, it seems like more work. But the freshness of this granola eaten within a few days really is nice. And also you won’t be tempted to wander by while the granola is cooling, snagging small hot handfuls and end up eating waaaaay too much because you think there is so much there. (not based on personal experience at all)

Maple Pecan Granola Base Recipe (but my favorite is this plus dried tart cherries and chocolate chips)

  • 3 cups thick rolled oats
  • 2 cups roughly broken/chopped pecans (I just hit them withe my garlic rock while they’re in a bag)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 1/3 cup salted sunflower seeds (no shells)
  • 1/4 tsp fine salt (and then I add a generous pinch of flake or sea salt)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (plus 1/2 tsp ground ginger and 1/2 tsp nutmeg if you like the spices or are putting in some finely chopped skin-on apple)
  • 1/2 cup oil (I have used both coconut and canola)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup (shell out the money for a good kind, not Mrs. Butterworth)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla (and optional 1/2 tsp maple flavoring. the maple flavoring really makes this delicious. it is also worth shelling out the money for)

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and put the oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. In a mixing bowl dump oil, syrup, and vanilla/maple flavor. Stir. It’s fine if it doesn’t achieve perfect emulsion 🙂 Dump in oats, pecans, coconut, sunflower seeds, salt, cinnamon, and whatever optional stuff (like chocolate chips and/or soaked dried cherries). Stir. Like really well, maybe with a wooden spoon until each individual oat flake is bathed in maple goodness.

Dump onto sheet pan and spread in a thinnish layer. Bake for about 45 minutes at 275. Rotate the pan, up the temperature to 300 degrees Fahrenheit, DO NOT STIR, and bake for another 20-25 minutes. Make sure your coconut doesn’t turn too brown. 🙂

Remove from oven, DO NOT STIR, and leave it alone to cool on a rack or whatever. It will firm up as it cools, Try not to steal the edge bits, I dare you. Allow it to cool completely before putting it in a glass (why ruin the heart healthy goodness with plastic?) or ceramic container. Enjoy.