My first few weeks in Pittsburgh have been a whirlwind. Between setting up the new apartment and starting a new job, I’ve been pretty busy, but in the best way. Getting back into a routine in a kitchen that, quite frankly, I still can’t get over, has been fantastic. I’ve got a dishwasher, people. A dishwasher!
I think the most important thing to do when one completely changes one’s life is to keep old routines in place to make the transition smooth. For me, that meant that even though I was starting a new job, and even though I was, at the time, between cities and homes, the month was coming to a close and that meant that I got to send a treat to a friend.
My sweet friend Catherine is so very lovely. She and I met in college and became fast friends. As I’ve gotten older I am more and more thankful for her friendship. I know that even though I may not talk to her every day, every week, or maybe even every month, she’s on my side. I’d say that’s deserving of some granola, don’t you?
Plus when she got the granola in the mail, she called me and her first words after I said “Hello?” were, “Can I tell you a secret? I bought some yogurt today and forgot to buy my granola.”
I like a person that can jump right into a conversation like that.
Let’s talk granola. Did you know it might be the easiest thing to make, ever? It’s a dump and stir situation, but the end result is incredible. This granola is sweetened with honey and maple syrup and is crunchy, crispy, good.
Main ingredients include:
Unsweetened coconut flakes, dried cranberries, pecans, and old fashioned rolled oats…
…good maple syrup, honey and olive oil. I feel like Ina Garten telling you to choose good maple syrup. It’s important though.
You’re going to need a very large bowl, because this does not make just a little granola. In your large bowl, add oats and then season with salt and cinnamon.
Chop up some pecans, which are, incidentally, my absolute favorite nut. Add those to the oats mixture. Throw in the coconut too. By the way, do you know about these big fat coconut flakes? They’re fantastic. If you can find them, I highly, highly recommend.
Meanwhile, combine olive oil, maple syrup, and honey into a small sauce pan. Heat over medium-low heat until well combined.
Once the syrup mixture is combined, pour over the oats slowly.
Until you’ve got every last drop. Mix together until the oats are well coated in the syrup mixture. Spread out in one even layer on 2 baking sheets and bake at 325 degrees for about 45 minutes to an hour, taking the pans out periodically to stir it around.
While that’s making your entire house smell like the best Christmas story ever, you could either clean your kitchen, or make cute containers for your granola.
I made tags out of card stock and decorated them with washi tape and sharpie markers, then tied them to mason jars with cute twine. This recipe will fill 6 16-ounce mason jars.
As the granola slowly toasts up, remove from the oven and let it completely cool. It will get crunchier as it cools, but if you wanted to stick a fork in it while it was warm, I wouldn’t be mad at you.
That toasted coconut is everything. I fell in love.
When the granola is completely cool, put it in a big bowl and add the dried cranberries. Stir to combine.
Now the granola is ready to be packaged. Spoon it into the mason jars and secure tightly with the lid. This granola will keep for several weeks in an airtight container.
As you can see, this made a lot of granola. I sent two jars to Catherine, left one with my parents, kept one for myself, gave one to K’s parents over Easter, and saved one for my new co-workers, because nothing says “Hi!!! Like Me!!!” like homemade goods.
Granola is the perfect treat to mail across the country because it lasts a long time and as long as you wrap it tightly in bubble wrap, it will make it to your destination in one piece, just in time for your friend to enjoy her morning yogurt.
Add a matching card (I went a little overboard with the washi tape that day), and voila, you spent an afternoon crafting and cooking. It’s relaxing.
This has become, by far, my most favorite resolution, and the one I am most excited about keeping.
I love you and I cherish you, my Boston people. My heart is with you, even if my body is in Pittsburgh.
Here’s the recipe.
Coconut Maple Granola with Pecans
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 8 cups old fashioned rolled oats
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with either foil or parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine oats, chopped pecans, coconut flakes, cinnamon and salt. Stir to combine. Add olive oil, syrup and honey to a small sauce pan over medium-low heat and cook, stirring, until melted together, about 5 minutes. Slowly add the syrup mixture to the oat mixture. Stir until well combined.
- Spread granola evenly between two baking sheets in a single layer. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until the granola is deeply golden brown. Stir 2 times while baking to ensure even browning. When the granola is done, remove from the oven and let cool completely. Add granola to a large bowl then add the dried cranberries and stir to combine.
- Store in air-tight containers for several weeks, or mail it to your friends, because can I tell you a secret? They might have forgotten to buy granola that morning.