Crunchy Maple Pecan Granola
I love this time of year. I love the crisp, cool, blue sky mornings with the smell of fall in the air. I love trading in iced coffee for a steaming mug of cafe au lait. I love pulling out sweaters and boots and scarves and packing up my sundresses for next year. I love watching the leaves change - slowly at first, then suddenly bursting into a riot of reds, golds, and oranges. Most of all, I love the chance to turn on the oven and start baking. The pumpkin craze will hit soon enough – consider yourself warned that I'll be posting mad recipes for pumpkin bread, muffins, scones, cakes, and more in the coming months! – but for now, I'm making batch after batch of maple pecan granola. Given that its prime fig season, there's nothing better for breakfast then a bowl of Greek yogurt with fresh figs, crunchy homemade granola, and a drizzle of really good honey.
I'm not really sure why, but I just made my first batch of granola this year. I've always loved homemade granola, but somehow it just sounded like it would be a huge fuss to make. In fact, it's so easy – and the results are so good – that I'm sort of embarrassed I never started making this stuff sooner! Plus, when you make a big batch, it's so easy to package up and give away as gifts! (Spoiler alert: my Christmas gifts this year may involve homemade granola.)
This granola was inspired by a recipe I found on Food 52 for Nekisia Davis' Olive Oil & Maple Granola. I loved the idea of using olive oil instead of butter or canola oil, and I loved the idea of adding maple syrup and a bit of sea salt. Of course, per usual, I changed around the recipe a bit. I wanted to make it less sweet, so I reduced the amount of maple syrup and brown sugar considerably. I took out the pumpkin seeds and raw coconut chips and added in some extra pecans. I also added in some cinnamon. And finally, I cut down on the cooking time, as it tends to burn toward the end.
The recipe, as written below, turns out perfectly every time. Just make sure to stay near the oven while it's baking, as you'll need to stir it every 15 minutes, and towards the end you'll need to keep a close eye to make sure it doesn't burn. All in all, it takes about 15 minutes to make, about 30 minutes to bake, and another 15 to cool. One hour is more than worth the delicious end result. Go buy some figs and some yogurt - you're in for a treat.[recipe:best-crunchy-maple-pecan-granola-greek-yogurt-figs-recipe]