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.


Makes about 6 cups

3 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 1/2 cups whole or roughly chopped pecans (or walnuts, almonds, etc.)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
Coarse sea salt

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, sunflower seeds, and pecans. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, brown sugar, olive oil, and cinnamon until smooth. Pour the maple mixture over the oat mixture and stir well to combine. Pour the mixture onto the two trays and spread evenly with a spatula. Season lightly with sea salt.

Bake for 15 minutes, then stir the granola gently. Depending on your oven, you may want to switch the baking sheets at this point to make sure they cook evenly.(My oven is an old gas oven, so it’s a must!) Cook for another 15 minutes then stir. Cook for 3-5 more minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from the oven and place on cooling racks until completely cool and crisp. Store in airtight containers at room temperature. Will keep for several weeks (though it won’t likely last that long!)

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  • pete

    oh i was hoping it was inspired by me!

  • Liz Caskey

    Just made this for b-fast but with some tweaking…raw coconut nectar for maple syrup, coconut oil for olive oil, and seeds for sliced almonds. Very, VERY tasty with all the seasonal berries in season right now in Chile. Besos

  • Rachel Newhouse

    Since I scarfed down the bag you sent me, I just made a double batch! MMMM! I substituted pistachios and hazelnuts for sunflower seeds because I didn’t have sunflower seeds. Turned out great! I forgot the salt on one batch and it’s definitely better with salt.

My name is Anna Watson Carl. In a word, I love food, I love France, and I love throwing dinner parties. Over the years, I've worked as a personal chef, taught cooking classes, edited cookbooks, written for magazines, tested and styled recipes, and traveled whenever opportunity has arisen. But at heart, there's nothing I love more than sharing a meal with friends around the yellow table.

For me, cooking has always been a way of life. As a (mildly precocious) ten-year old, I planned and prepared a four-course Valentine's dinner for my parents, birthing a lifelong passion for dinner parties. That was just the beginning. I've been cooking ever since, whipping up souffles at a chateau in Burgundy, searing filet mignon for a wealthy client's dog (bizarre, but true), butchering ducks for confit de canard in Paris, baking the night shift in Nashville, and bathing the floor of my NYC apartment in turkey brine...the story continues.


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