Fig & Pecan Granola

With the current state of the world these days, it’s easy to think that people are the worst and that we’re doomed as a species. And while this might be true, I think it’s important to remember that not everything is the worst and that it’s possible to find comfort in the little things… Even if just for a moment!

So, with all of these horrifying things happening in the world, I thought I would make a short list of things that are great and make me happy. Maybe you can write your own! Or add to mine in the comments…

Great things:

– When you’re dipping your dorito in salsa and it doesn’t break

– Finding $5 in the pocket of your jeans

– When you figure out what an actor has been in before you have to look it up on IMDB (Dr. Wong from SVU is in Gotham, you guys!)

– When the song you’re listening to in the car finishes just as you arrive at your destination

– The smell of books

– The way the leaves look in Autumn and the crunchy sound they make when you walk on them

– When you find a really good TV show to binge watch

– When you let someone in front of you when driving and they wave to say thank you

– Potatoes

– Baking as therapy

– Freshly baked granola

Even just writing that list filled me with joy! Especially when I started thinking about potatoes. Man, I love potatoes.

Something else I love immensely: the last two items on the list. And they just so happen to go together like rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong! (Yes, I googled those lyrics.)

Granola is one of those things that is super duper easy to make and is quite therapeutic to make, too. Often, when I can’t think of anything to add to my great things list, I go straight into the kitchen. I know that I’ll find solace there; I just know that whatever I make will heal my soul as I measure and mix. And making granola makes me happy every time!

I also find great comfort in the fact that even the most “hopeless cooks” can easily make this and feel chuffed with themselves and the outcome. I don’t believe that anyone is hopeless in the kitchen but my mum would describe herself that way. Maybe you do, too? Not anymore, my friend!

Making granola is as easy as measuring dry and wet ingredients, mixing them together in one bowl and baking the mixture in the oven. I don’t know why people buy it! One of my friends from work even told me that since trying my granola recipe, she couldn’t bring herself to buy a store bought granola because it’s raised her standards so high! (I cringed as I wrote that because it sounds so braggy but I promise, the granola will speak for itself! Ugh. Even that sounded braggy.)

This is one of my favourite granola recipes because gosh darn it, figs and pecans belong together! The whole batch also has just the right amount of sea salt, which brings out the beautiful flavours of maple and extra virgin olive oil. Also, it makes a great hand moisturiser when you eat it straight from the jar like I am as I’m typing this. (Consequently, the keyboard on my laptop is feeling quite soft, too.)

Just a wee note on the recipe. I love my granola clustery and chunky, so I don’t tend to stir it throughout it’s baking time. This can sometimes make it easier for granola to burn, so I rotate my trays instead, so the whole batch gets evenly toasted. Then I wait for it too cool completely and break it into chunks! If you prefer more of a muesli consistency, go ahead and stir during baking time and forget about rotating the trays. Either way is delish!

So go ahead, my favourite pals. Whip out your measuring cups and spoons and immerse yourself in some (delicious) therapy.

Fig & Pecan Granola

Makes about 6 cups or 1 big jar

Ingredients

– 3 cups rolled oats

– 1 cup pecans, roughly chopped

– 1 cup coconut flakes

– 1/2 cup sunflower seeds

– 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt

– 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

– 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

– 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

– 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

– Scant 1 cup dried figs, chopped into 1.5 cm pieces

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius/ 160 degrees fan-forced. Line two rimmed baking trays with baking paper and set aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl, add rolled oats, pecans, coconut flakes, sunflower seeds, sea salt and cinnamon and stir to combine.

3. Add olive oil, maple syrup and vanilla extract and stir well, until everything is evenly coated. (Sometimes I get my hands in there to mix it, to get to the bits a spoon just can’t reach!)

4. Spread the granola mixture evenly on the prepared baking trays, using the back of your spoon to pack it down and flatten it. Place in preheated oven for 20-30 minutes, until lovely and golden.* If you want clusters of granola, don’t stir during baking time. Rotate the trays every 10 minutes so that nothing burns. If you want muesli-like consistency, stir every 10 minutes during baking time.

5. Take the trays out of the oven and let it cool completely. If you want clusters, break it into clumps with your hands when it has cooled. Then add your dried figs, give it a little stir and store in an airtight jar or container. It’ll last for about a month in an airtight container or up to 3 months stored in the freezer.

Enjoy!

*I know there’s quite a big difference between 20 and 30 minutes, but all ovens are different! Mine is perfect at 25 minutes but others might need more or less time. The key is to watch for the coconut flakes browning. When they’re lovely and brown and your mixture seems almost dry when you touch it, it’s ready! Don’t worry if it still feels a bit wet: this is good! It will firm up as it cools out of the oven.

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