Have you ever opened up a bag of $15 vacuum-sealed-specialty-food-store-granola only to find sticky and soggy knots of pale nuts and seeds that taste like someone dribbled raw vanilla extract over the top?
Even worse is the granola you decide to make at home when you are fed up (see above). You copy the ingredients onto a grocery list that reads like Anna Karenina, collect everything, only to spend an hour making something good, but certainly not worth $35 per bowl.
I finally found a simple recipe with common pantry ingredients that actually tastes great. I added pumpkin seeds and raisins to the original recipe to add textural depth and a little sweetness. Normally, I’m game to substitute any sort of nut but I’ve played around with this recipe, and the pecans really are the way to go. Their natural buttery sweetness caramelizes in the oven and they highlight the crunchy brown sugar-kissed oats.
If you have other nuts or seeds lying around, feel free to let them join the party, but try to stick to around four to five cups of “stuff,” otherwise, there isn’t enough brown sugar syrup to coat everything.
This isn’t fancy, but breakfast or brunch guests would be thrilled to eat it with a little dollop of yogurt and maybe some mixed berries … or straight out of a bowl with frosty milk and chunks of fruit. My kids eat it right out of the palms of their hands, like trail mix, for a hearty afternoon snack.
I wouldn’t bother thinking too creatively though, this batch will be gone before the day is through. Good thing there are only a few ingredients to remember – you’ll have it memorized in no time.
- 2 ½ cups rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
- 1 cup pecan halves, coarsely chopped
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup pumpkin seeds
- ½ cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup raisins
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F, and adjust the oven racks so they are in the top third and bottom third of the oven.
- In a medium-size bowl, mix together the oats, pecans, cinnamon, salt, and pumpkin seeds.
- In a small saucepan, add the brown sugar and ¼ cup water. Heat on medium-high, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Add the oil and the vanilla extract, then pour the liquids into the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
- Pour the granola evenly onto two sheet trays, spreading it out as much as possible for maximum toasting and crunch.
- Bake for 12 minutes, then stir the cereal, turn and rotate the pans and return to the oven for another 10 to 12 minutes. At this point, it should be golden brown and you should smell the toasting nuts. . Add the raisins and toss to combine. Allow the granola to cool in the pans, then store in an airtight bag or container for up to three weeks.
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