Guys, I have no St. Patrick’s Day recipe. You’re welcome. I’m sure you’re so overwhelmed with the color green. Let’s talk relaxation and breakfast, shall we? Yeah, I agree. This is waaaay better than a shamrock shake.
This recipe is one of my absolute favorites. It’s from the lovely Sarah of The Vanilla Bean Blog, so that’s no surprise. Her recipes are always a slam dunk.
This particular recipe for maple cinnamon granola is so simple. And this may sound ridiculous to some of you, but it brings me such joy. Toss everything together, throw it in the oven, and let the fragrant maple and cinnamon wash over your kitchen. This recipe has the most amazing aroma. It’s soothing and comforting which is a feeling I think we should all associate with breakfast.
And while this granola is an amazing experience to bake, it’s even better to taste. It’s everything you’ve ever wanted in a granola—crunchy, sweet, flavorful, and nourishing. Fabulous right?
Don’t you think we’d all do well to start the day with something as lovely as that? I thought so. Bonus: take the morning off and have a relaxing breakfast-in-bed kind of morning—Audrey print and Badgely Mischka bow watch not-included.
Plus, I think I’m a special authority on relaxation at this moment. If all goes well, this post will go live one week before I defend my Master’s research thesis. Which means I’m writing this now in February in anticipation of more fraught nerves than ever. So yeah. Relaxation is top notch on the list. And this recipe does the job every single time. (Honestly, just surfing through Sarah’s site relaxes me. Seriously, give it a few minutes, and I’m sure you’ll be audibly sighing)
Now that I’ve gone all rant-y on relaxation, let’s get to the science of this post. I’m going to keep it simple because: tranquility. Granola starts as individual oats and, after baking, ends up as loosely-formed clumps. The key to that transformation? One of our favorites—sugar. Sugar is very hygroscopic. Basically, it loves water and seeks it out whenever it can. And as a result, the sugar and water mixture that coats the oats and other add-ins (hello pecans!) changes in the oven while heating.
The water evaporates slowly from the mixture, and as it leaves, the sugar tries to hold onto as much water as possible. That results in a sticky, concentrated sugar solution in the oat mix. Sticky surface? Clumps of oats! As the water continues to evaporate, the sugar hardens freezing the oats in place and rendering the clumps to live on forever. Or at least until you spoon them into your mouth.
Now let’s get to this granola recipe! Like I said, take 45 minutes to make this recipe for your own good. You won’t regret it. What is your favorite way to unwind?
Maple Cinnamon Pecan Granola
Adapted from The Vanilla Bean Blog
4 ¾ cups old fashioned oats
¼ cup roughly chopped pecans (optional: omit and use 5 cups of oats instead if desired)
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons water
2 teaspoons vanilla
- Preheat the oven to 325⁰F. In a large bowl, mix the oats, pecans, salt, brown sugar, and cinnamon together. In a separate bowl, whisk the remaining ingredients together. Add the wet ingredients to the oat mixture and mix well to coat.
- Spread the oats onto a parchment-covered baking sheet in as even a layer as you can get. Bake until golden brown and no longer wet to the touch, about 25-30 minutes. Stir the oats often in the oven, at least every 8-10 minutes to prevent uneven browning and burning.
- Remove from the oven when baked and let cool to room temperature before enjoying. While cooling, stir the oats to prevent the bottom from overly browning.
- Store in a sealed container for up to 2 weeks.