Friday, June 8, 2012
This year I’m one of the room parents for Cal's first grade class. Everyone loves his teacher. Everyone. As Cal said on the way home from the end-of-the-year picnic earlier this week, "I wish Andrew could be my teacher for all the years.” I agree. As a gift from the class, I put together a basket of ingredients and food-related items for him, as he loves to cook. I included a batch of this granola.
I've written about Kim Boyce and her book here before. Another of my favorites is her maple pecan granola. There are at least as many granola recipes out there as there are boxes of cereal on the shelves at the supermarket, and I would venture to say I’d probably like them all. I like it every way - with seeds and nuts and dried fruits of all kinds - but this combination of chewy dried blueberries, toasted pecans, and shredded coconut is magic. It all gets snacked away very quickly around here; not much of it makes it to the breakfast table.
Kim explains that the idea of boiling down the syrup is to get an intense maple flavor without the granola becoming overly sweet. I’ve substituted some of the wheat bran called for and added flaxseed meal to the mix, as it is such a nutritional power house.
Your house will smell amazing for hours.
Maple Pecan Granola
slightly adapted from Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce
2 cups pecan halves
3 cups rolled oats (or any rolled flakes such as spelt, rye or barley)
2 cups natural unsweetened shredded coconut
¼ cup wheat bran
¼ cup flaxseed meal
1 cup maple syrup
2 ounces (1/2 stick) butter, cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups dried blueberries
Heat your oven to 325 degrees. Spread the pecans onto a baking sheet and toast for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring halfway through, until light golden brown.
Butter two rimmed baking sheets or a large roasting pan.
Measure the oats, coconut, wheat bran, flaxseed meal, and toasted pecans into a large bowl and toss them together. Squeeze half the pecans to break some into small pieces.
To make the syrup, put the maple syrup into a small saucepan. Place it over medium high heat for 7-10 minutes to reduce the syrup to 3/4 cup. After measuring, pour the reduced syrup back into the pot and add the butter and salt. Swirl the syrup until the butter melts.
As soon as the syrup is done, immediately pour it over the oat mixture. Use a spatula to coat every last flake. Divide the granola between the prepared baking sheets, spreading it evenly.
Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the sheets from the oven and scrape the outer edges of the granola toward the center and the center out to the edges. Put the top sheet on the bottom rack and the bottom sheet on the top rack to ensure even baking. Repeat this two more times for a total of 30 minutes.
Allow the granola to cool thoroughly on the sheets; this allows clumps to form. Once the granola has cooled sprinkle in the dried blueberries.
Yield: about 8 cups