I woke up yesterday craving granola. Specifically, the maple granola that I used to eat with yogurt for lunch every day when I was in the 5th grade. It was my favorite and could be bought only from the bulk bins at People’s Food Co-op in SE Portland. We didn’t live anywhere nearby, but my mom often made the trip to stock up so that I could have a lunch that made me happy (5th grade was a particularly hard year for me).
I’ve been out of granola for a couple of weeks (I finished the peanut butter banana batch right around Halloween). It hasn’t been a great hardship, as there were still bowls of oatmeal, scrambled eggs, or slices of peanut butter toast to be had in the morning. But there was a space on the shelf where a jar of granola could go, and with that craving still whispering in my ear, I decided to make a batch.
I did not reinvent the wheel with this granola. Instead, reached for my cookbook and opened it to the recipe for Maple Pecan Granola (I’m a little bit embarrassed by how often I reach for the book I wrote to refresh my memory of certain recipes. You’d think I’d know them all by heart but I most certainly do not).
That recipe uses melted butter, pecans and dried blueberries for a super rich granola that tastes much like a good, crispy oatmeal cookie. I didn’t want something quite so rich and I didn’t have any pecans in the freezer (the best place in the world for nut storage) and so opted to use olive oil in place of the butter, swapped in walnuts, and skipped the blueberries entirely.
As this batch of granola baked (I did this one at very low heat for a long while – a tip I’ve gleaned from Megan Gordon and the writing she’s done about her granola company, Marge), the apartment filled with the most glorious smell of toasting nuts and warm maple syrup. It was the aromatic embodiment of cozy productivity.
One of the things I’ve still not quite gotten used to about my job as a blogger, teacher and author is the fact that I have a very distinct busy season. Things pick up for me around April and they don’t slow down much until the beginning of November. By the time we hit this time of year, I need a break but it always takes me a couple of weeks to remember how to relax and slow down (transitions have never come easily to me). Making this granola helped remind me that it’s okay slow down a little and just enjoy the scent.
So now I have a lovely jar of granola, and finally am feeling a little more at ease with myself and the slightly slower days. Who knew that following a morning urge to bake granola could be so helpful!
Oh, and one more thing. You’ll notice that I’m not storing the granola in a mason jar (I know, it’s blasphemy) and instead stashed it in one of OXO’s flip lock glass canisters. I got a couple of these jars last June at Eat, Write, Retreat and they are one of my favorite things for foods that get accessed a lot. Instead of twisting off, you flip up the lever on the jar and it releases the seal. Take out the granola that you need, pop the lid back on and press the lever back down to seal the jar again. I like them a whole heck of a lot, but they were (disclosure!) free from the swag table, so I thought you should know.
Maple Walnut Granola
- 3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup real maple syrup
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine.
- Spread the mix out on a large rimmed baking sheet.
- Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the granola is fragrant and golden brown.
- Remove pan from oven and let granola cool undisturbed for at least half an hour.
- When granola is just barely warm, use a spatula to scrape it off the pan, taking care not to break up the clusters.
- Funnel into an airtight container to store.
- It will keep for at least a couple weeks.