Granola – alone or on yogurt – is one of our favorite ways to start the day. The salty-sweet-crunchy trifecta is a powerful way to lure the boys to the breakfast table. The only hiccup: the truly best granola is homemade. And once I got a taste of this stuff, I vowed never to buy it again.
Over the summer, I did a cooking class with Kristen Miglore of Food52’s Genius Recipes. Among nearly a dozen dishes, this gem of a granola recipe is the one that I make time and again. After the first few batches, I realized the pecans mysteriously disappear before the oats, so now we add extra.
The trick to making granola with very young children is to measure some or all of the ingredients ahead of time. A two year old (even my angel, Beluga) is just too young to put his heart into measurement. Precision is a four year old trait. I’ve learned over time that small Mason jars hold 1 cup and the larger ones hold 2 cups. This gives us enough containers for all the ingredients. Granola isn’t an exact science, so with Mingus helping, I load up the jars with oats, pumpkin seeds, olive oil, brown sugar, pecans…
Mingus’ eyes widen, looking at them all and declares, “I want to taste everything!”
He fetches a spoon and scoops little tastes. Fortunately, it is headed to the oven, so I can look the other way when he double dips to taste the maple syrup again. “It all tastes good! The coconut, the maple syrup, all of it,” Mingus reports.
I explain how we’ll pour all the ingredients into our biggest pot and stir them together.
Mingus decides to try a pair of tongs to transfer the pumpkin seeds.
Then, when he realizes how long it would take to move all the seeds into the pot, he lifts the maple syrup jar and pours it over the oatmeal.
Once all the ingredients are in the pot, Mingus stirs the pot until he has very tired arms. I scoop around the edges a few times, to make sure none of the ingredients are dry.
The tongs come out again as Mingus tries to transfer the granola mixture to a baking tray.
He tastes the mixture and looks very concerned.
“I don’t think we should cook it.”
“It’s that good?”
I assure him it will taste even better after everything is toasted in the oven.
“Ok, but that’s enough!” Mingus tells me, looking at just a few spoonfuls left in the pot. We pat the granola mixture flat on the tray, and put it in the oven.
Forty minutes later, it’s a beautiful golden brown, clumpy and crisp. Cooled, we sprinkle it over yogurt.
Beluga digs in.
Crunch, crunch, crunch. Munch, munch, munch. And a few days later, it’s time to make more.
- 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds, hulled
- 1 cup raw sunflower seeds, hulled
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut chips
- 2 cup raw pecans, left whole or coarsely chopped
- ¾ cup pure maple syrup
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ cup packed light-brown sugar
- Coarse salt
- Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.
- Stir together all the ingredients and spread out on a rimmed baking sheet. Pat the granola flat.
- Bake for 45 minutes, stirring the granola every 15 minutes or so.
- When you remove the sheet from the oven, let the granola cool. Then taste it. Does it need a little more salt? You can pack the granola away in jars or tupperware and it keeps nicely for up to a month.
A quick note for those who have been following this blog from its infancy: I’ve decided to give my boys a little extra privacy and will refer to them by their family pet names: Mingus and Beluga.