A versatile and packable snack, granola is ideal for fueling outdoor endeavors. Loaded with seeds, nuts, oats and dried fruit it delivers a tasty and healthy serving of energy. It won’t get smushed or melt in a pack, requires no cooking, and can be enjoyed any time of day. Rather than bother with cleaning a messy pot of oatmeal in the morning, fill a cup with cool water and stir in some powdered milk. Add granola and (if lucky) a handful of fresh-picked berries. You have a simple breakfast that enables you to strike camp and get moving fast. Feeling drained after a long uphill stretch on a hot afternoon? Keep some granola in an easily accessible place and reach for it whenever you need that boost. The wind is blowing hard and cold as the sun disappears . Sleep better by eating a late night dessert of granola (add chocolate chips); it will help keep you warm through the night.
Making granola is an uncomplicated process. Measure and mix the dry ingredients, then add in the sweeteners. Spread evenly on a baking sheet, bake, toss, bake, remove. The smell of toasted nuts and maple syrup goes well with a cup of black tea while you wait. The recipe can be changed easily based on what you have on hand in the pantry. You may want to experiment with different combinations of nuts/seeds/fruits after a few basic batches. Sunflower kernels and apricots are on my to-try list. Mixing the ingredients yourself gives so much control. Add some browned butter for a richer, toastier granola. Add extra pecans for a crunchier granola. Chop dried fruit finely or leave large pieces intact. Changing up the core ingredients will ensure you don’t get bored with this essential provision. Below are some proven recipes to be used as guides for your own creations.
Pecan Pepita Granola
- 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup raw nuts (pecans)
- ½ cup raw seeds (pepitas)
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ cup olive oil
- ½ cup maple syrup (100%, dark amber)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup dried fruit (dried cherries)
- honey (to drizzle)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, seeds, salt and cinnamon.
- Pour in the oil, maple syrup and vanilla. Mix well, lightly coating the dry ingredients.
- Pour the granola onto the baking sheet and spread in an even layer. Bake 12 minutes, toss, bake additional 10 – 12 minutes until golden.
- Drizzle honey over the granola to your taste.
- Let the granola cool completely before adding in the dried fruit. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 to 2 weeks, or in a sealed freezer bag in the freezer for up to 3 months.