It’s so often associated with Vegetarian or Vegan food lovers, Birkenstocks, waist-length hair, and questionable hygiene practices.
Let’s put those old school views – of Vegetarianism, Veganism, and of course granola, into a time capsule and send it back to the 1960s and 70s where they belong.
Because these stereotypes don’t exist anymore. I wrote a love note recently to my clean eating friends because I find the textures, colors and flavors of plant-based food to be so vivid and inspiring. People aren’t solely eating consciously because they should for health or socioeconomic reasons. People are getting hooked because healthy foods really do taste as good as their less nutritional counterparts.
Although I’m usually a sausage and eggs for breakfast kind of girl on the weekends, I’ve been on a granola kick recently. It just feels like a healthier way to start my day. And it’s downright heavenly, the perfect canvas for so many different flavor combinations. Granola can be earthy, with plenty of seeds and grains, or decadent, studded with chocolate chunks and cherries. It can be All-American with almonds and coconut, or exotic with spices like ginger or cardamom.
I was in an ice cream state of mind this week when I found myself wanting to bake a batch of granola. And if it’s ice cream for me, it means butter pecan. I love the salty, sweet combo, the crunchiness of the nuts. I’m old school like that. I like simple flavors – I’m not the kind of person who goes for a Ben & Jerry’s fully loaded cookie dough brownie batter toffee bit spectacular. Too much going on. Not to mention my gag reflex when I come into contact with raw cookie dough.
So what better concept than a salted butter pecan granola, packed with the same flavors as my favorite ice cream, minus the guilt. And by guilt, I mean relative guilt. because this (nor any of my food) even comes close to being fat free. But reassure yourself that although this granola calls for a stick of butter (we are talking salted butter pecan after all), it will take you many bowls of this stuff before you exhaust your supply.
The best part of this recipe is that it only has 6 key ingredients, making it a snap to prepare: Oats, coconut, pecans, brown sugar, maple syrup, melted butter.
Just mix the wet and dry ingredients separately, combine, bake, and you’re done.
Now you have the basis for creating the perfect breakfast treat. Like this bowl of heaven with maple syrup and figs:
Or this one with kumquat jam. To make the kumquat jam, just slice about a pint of kumquats crosswise , picking out the big seeds, and put them in a pot with a quarter cup of water + about a half cup of sugar. Boil and simmer until they’re soft, adding more sugar if needed.
So get over your granola-making phobias. See how easy it is to whip up a batch of this morning goodness. It takes minimal effort, and stored in an airtight container, it’ll last you at least a week or two. Enjoy!
- 3 cups of old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup of shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup of light brown sugar, not packed (you want it to mix in thoroughly with the oats and nuts, which is harder to do if you've packed it first)
- 8 ounces of chopped pecans
- 8 Tablespoons of unsalted butter (1 stick)
- 1/2 cup of maple syrup
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of salt, to taste (start with 1/2 teaspoon, and you can mix in more salt when it's baked)
- Preheat the oven to 250 degrees
- Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl
- Separately, in a smaller bowl, mix the wet ingredients together
- Stir together the wet and dry ingredients
- Spread the mixture on a large sheet pan covered with parchment paper (makes it easier to pour the granola into a bowl or other container when you're done)
- Bake the granola, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on how dark you want it
- Cool completely and then store in an airtight container