Rabbits eat granola. They carry it in miniature chewing tobacco pouches and when they need a bit of energy, they cram some in their little rabbit jowls and spit granola juice.
Gosh. I had no idea.
That creative vision stems from a question I asked my husband while we were having a quiet, post-holiday afternoon at home, letting the scent of this granola, fresh out of the oven, permeate our clothes. I didn’t know what to write about the granola, so I queried him. The above was my answer.
Now, I don’t know about the rabbits, but I sure can eat some granola. This version is particularly good with Greek yogurt and a drizzle of maple syrup. Like most things I cook, this recipe was born out of a moment of inspiration while watching my favorite chef of the moment: Ina Garten. She makes a cinnamon almond granola that was the blueprint for this one but, me being me, I made a few changes. I added a hint of salt to illuminate the other flavors, and swapped the original almonds for pecans and maple syrup instead of honey, making this recipe vegan. Coconut oil stood in for canola, too. The beauty of granola is its versatility, so I welcome you to riff on this recipe in whatever ways appeal to you.
Many thanks to my mother-in-law for the thoughtful gift of pecans. And all the same thanks to my father-in-law for shelling them. Hope there was something good on TV!
Cherry Pecan Coconut Granola
4 cups (350-400 g) old fashioned oats
2 cups shredded (150 g), sweetened coconut (divided)
2 cups shelled pecans (300 g), chopped roughly
1/2 cup (120 mL) coconut oil
1/2 maple syrup (120 mL) (any grade is fine)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups (220-230 g) dried cherries, roughly chopped
Preheat the oven to 325 F° (163 C°) . In a large bowl, mix together the oats, nuts, and one cup of the coconut. Add the oil, the syrup, and stir until all the ingredients are well coated. Add the cinnamon and salt and stir again to distribute.
Pour mixture into an un-greased half-sheet pan and spread into the corners so everything is level and will bake evenly.
Bake for 20 minutes; remove from oven and stir. Bake for another 15 minutes and stir again. Add the cherries and remaining cup of coconut. Bake in 5-10 minute intervals, stirring in-between, until the granola has turned slightly golden brown. At this point it’s up to you to determine how brown and crunchy you want it — I like mine on the lighter side so took it out after about 45 minutes. Let the granola cool completely before storing. I think it would last a while in an airtight container, but my batches have never stuck around long enough for me to test the theory. Don’t forget to leave some out for the rabbits.