Make Christmas Crunch with Maple Granola

Olive Oil & Maple Granola

Retailers waste no time putting up the wreaths and red bows, but surviving the holiday season can be an emotional marathon that demands a hearty breakfast

By Louise Crosby

Apparently Christmas is coming. Here we were, meandering our way through a long, leisurely fall full of colour and unseasonably warm temperatures, gorgeous afternoons with soft light, long shadows, beauty all around. Then suddenly, out of the blue, it seems, we’re bombarded with evergreen boughs, sparkly lights and commercial enticements to spend money. Bing Crosby and I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas piped over the sound system in my grocery store five weeks before the big day. It’s enough to put you off the whole thing.

Grumble, grumble. Christmas will get you in the end, though. It’s inevitable that one of these days a switch will go off, and I’ll be all for it, heading out to get a tree, setting out the candles, baking cookies. In fact, I’m already planning the food gifts I’ll give and this granola from Food52 Genius Recipes, by Kristen Miglore, will be one of them. The secret is out.

I’ve been making granola since my hippie days, and this ratio of oats to nuts and seeds is what I’m liking at the moment. It’s a tad sweet, a special treat in fact, but a perfect topping for a fruit and yogurt bowl, or sprinkled on steel-cut oatmeal, or just eaten out of hand in the middle of the afternoon when feeling peckish.

The wonderful thing about granola is that you can make it your own. If you would prefer less sweetness, cut back on the maple syrup and brown sugar. Substitute walnuts or pistachios for the pecans. Stir in dried cherries or cranberries or chocolate bits at the end. Add cinnamon or dried ginger or cardamom. We are warned not to cut back on the salt, however. Apparently, it is essential, although one teaspoon was enough for me. But however you make it, I hope you enjoy that big fat holiday coming our way.

Olive Oil & Maple Granola
3 cups (300 g) rolled oats
1 cup (130 g) hulled raw pumpkin seeds
1 cup (140 g) hulled raw sunflower seeds
1 cup (60 g) unsweetened coconut chips or flakes
1¼ cups (125 g) raw pecans, left whole or coarsely chopped
¾ cup (180 ml) pure maple syrup
½ cup (120 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup (110 g) packed light brown sugar
Coarse salt

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).
Put the oats, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut, pecans, maple syrup, olive oil, brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl and mix until well combined. Spread the granola mixture in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake, stirring every 10 to 15 minutes, until the granola is toasted, about 45 minutes.
Remove the granola from the oven and season with more salt to taste, if desired. Let cool completely before serving or storing in an airtight container for up to 1 month.
Makes about 7 cups (1.7L)


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THE EX-PRESS, November 20, 2015



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