Sunday, January 17, 2016

It's Gran-Tastic!: Maple-Pecan Granola with Cranberries

The New Year is a time when people make resolutions and set goals for themselves, many of which are health-related. And no wonder, after a few months of decadence and indulgence! As you might guess, my definition of healthy includes making as much as possible at home, the better to know what goes into my food and where it was made and grown. Now, you know me, and I don't shrink from fat and calories, but I want to be sure my ingredients are the best quality I can find and afford, minimally processed and locally sourced if at all possible. This makes things healthier for me, my community, and the environment—the ultimate win-win-win!

All the same, sometimes you want your food to "feel" healthy, and granola is often what jumps to mind as you look for something to start your day. Thankfully, it's also wonderfully easy to make, with very few ingredients and some time in a slow oven. The best part? It simply tastes great, too :-)

Maple-Pecan Granola with Cranberries

Maple-Pecan Granola with Cranberries

5 cups rolled oats (regular, "old-fashioned" oats)
1 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup neutral-tasting oil (such as grapeseed or extra light olive oil)
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large baking sheet with foil or parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine oats, pecans, cinnamon and salt, stirring until everything is fully combined. Measure out syrup and oil into the same measuring cup and pour all at once over the oat mixture. Stir again until all the oats and pecans are completely coated. Pour onto prepared sheet and spread the granola into an even layer. Bake for about 45 minutes to an hour, stirring gently every 10-15 minutes, until the granola is dried and toasty. Remove and let cool completely; mix in the cranberries and store in an airtight container. Serve as a cereal with milk, sprinkle over yogurt, eat out of hand as a snack, or (so much for healthy) enjoy with a bowl of ice cream ;-)

Notes: This recipe is adapted from Bob's Red Mill. My version is not super-sweet, but just enough so to satisfy. You can definitely use whatever nuts, spices, and dried fruits you would like to suit your taste—anything goes!



Please share your thoughts and experience!