This is hands down my favorite granola to make. No fussy preparation, but the end result is big on flavor, crunch, and spice. The cinnamon comes out to play in a big way, the pecans become ultra buttery when they get a good toasting, and I've found brown rice syrup to be the best sweetener for creating a sticky batter that helps the granola pieces clump together once baked. Not to mention its low fructose profile produces a subtly sweet taste, important so the sugar content is more in line with a wholesome homemade granola rather than Fruit Loops cereal. ;-) Of course you can substitute maple syrup or honey, but if you get a chance I would strongly encourage seeking out and experimenting with brown rice syrup. It's one of the least refined natural sweeteners out there and can be used in baking just like other sweeteners. See here for substitution ratios.
Finally, chewy dried pears provide a nice change to the fruity scenery. I'll splurge on dried pears when I want to treat myself or when I get tired of the usual dried apricots, cranberries, or figs, though any of these would still be delicious in this granola. But sometimes I need my everyday granola to feel a little more special, plus the pears pair nicely with pecans. Other special dried fruit that work well here are dried nectarines, peaches, or a combination of strawberries and golden berries.
Cinnamon Pecan Granola
Makes 10-12 3/4 cup servings
Notes: Dried pears make this granola feel special and help get me out of my granola rut. Dried nectarines, peaches, or strawberries and golden berries have the same effect. But of course any of your favorite dried fruits would work here.
- 4 cups (420 gr) rolled oats
- 2 cups (86 gr) unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1 cup (143 gr) raw sunflower seeds
- 1 1/2 cups (159 gr) pecans, roughly chopped or crumbled with fingers
- 2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/3 cup (80 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup (80 ml) brown rice syrup
- 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
- Heaping 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 cup chopped dried pears (7-8 pears, total)
- Preheat oven to 300°F/150°C. Set two oven rack in the upper 1/3 and bottom 1/3 of the oven. Line two large baking sheets with silpat or parchment paper.
- Stir together the first five ingredient (through cinnamon) in a large mixing bowl.
- In a small saucepan over medium-low heat add the remaining ingredients, except for pears. Warm until syrup has loosened, stir to combine, and remove from heat.
- Pour olive oil mixture into the mixing bowl over oats and use a large wooden spoon to thoroughly combine. Make sure everything is evenly coated in the olive oil mixture.
- Divide between the two baking sheets and spread out in a thin single layer so granola bakes evenly.
- Bake for 20 minutes. Remove, flip granola with a spatula, then return to oven rotating trays. Bake another 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow granola to cool completely before tossing again. This helps oats stick together. In the meantime chop pears and scatter on top.
- Scoop granola into glass jars to store; stores well in airtight container for 4 weeks.