Christmas was quite a win this year, all in the form of pecans. I was gifted two gallon-size bags of fresh, high-quality pecans grown from a farm somewhere near Dallas, and I counted it as one of the best presents of the season. I love these little tree nuts that fall from the Texas state tree, but they tend to be pricey, and look especially lackluster when store bought. But not these sweet Christmas nuggets. All it took was one look at their robust shape, caramel color, and a waft of their sweet, nutty smell, and I knew they were gold.
So now that my freezer is full of enough pecans to last at least a good 8 months, I pondered what to do with them. This blog has no shortage of pecan-infused recipes, from sweet potatoes to Mexican chocolate cupcakes to cookies, to name a few. But we’re on this grand new year adventure of trying to choose healthier options, which is why I’m wearing a new pair of running shoes and am obsessively looking at my Fitbit every few hours to gauge how worrisome my resting heart rate is. So granola won.
Months ago, I wrote down the idea for Pecan Pie Granola in my little notebook of possible blog posts, but it has taken until now – until the most beautiful pecans showed up on my doorstep – to make it. I think the high quality pecan is what truly makes this granola spectacular… They are lightly toasted to perfection, and are chopped coarsely enough that you get to enjoy robust, flavorful bites.
It’s a fairly basic granola recipe, with oats, honey, a bit of maple syrup, and sugar (which doesn’t sound all that healthy, but mentally it’s working for me). Everything is slowly toasted in a low heat oven over 45 minutes until crisp and fragrant. I tossed in plump golden raisins both for an added texture component and sweet, syrupy flavor – one that is reminiscent to me of the brown, caramel-y custard you find in pecan pie.
This made a sizable batch that I’ve been working on all week, smothering it over a heap of creamy yogurt for breakfast. I’ve been serving it from the handmade wooden trivet bowl you see in the pictures, found over at the wonderful small business Ode to Wood. It came as part of a larger lazy Susan wooden trivet cutting board that I love, but I found having this little piece greet me every morning for a quaint breakfast of granola was too charming not to use. Plussss I’ve been watching Fixer Upper on HGTV and have become inspired by the almighty Joanna Gaines to embrace new textures and shapes in every room of my home. Gah, such wisdom from Waco, Texas…
I gave some of this granola to Kevin one morning and asked him, “Does it actually taste like pecan pie?” “It tastes like granola,” he said. “But really good granola.” So there is my small disclaimer – it’s not quiiiiite as decadent and sinful as a creamy, flaky-crust-based traditional pie. But if you ask me, the flavors and textures when mingled with fresh and thick Greek yogurt make for an excellent and socially acceptable pecan pie breakfast experience.
Pecan Pie Granola
- 4 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup high-quality pecans roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup golden raisins
- Preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix the oats, sugar, pecans, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl or pouring container, mix the honey, maple syrup, and vanilla. Pour over the dry mixture and combine with your hands (you can use a spoon, but your hands will incorporate it all much faster).
- Spread the mixture evenly on a baking sheet. Bake for a total of 45 minutes in your preheated oven on the middle rack, pulling it out every 15 minutes to mix so it toasts evenly.
- Let cool for about 20 minutes. Stir in the golden raisins and serve. Keep in an airtight container like a Mason jar.