Vanilla-Scented Granola

I’ve completely lost my baking mojo in the past few weeks.  I can count on one hand the number of goodies that have been made in my kitchen.  Baking 4 desserts over the course of a few weeks might still sound like a lot to you, but compared to my “normal,” it’s definitely not.  I suspect I’m probably just burned out from all the holiday baking I did, though I haven’t experienced that in previous years so I’m not sure why all of a sudden it’s happened. Fortunately I haven’t entirely lost interest in the kitchen; we’ve tried a ton of great new savory recipes lately that I’m looking forward to sharing with you this week. I just hope my desire to bake returns before we run out of Christmas candy to snack on :)

Vanilla-Scented Granola

This vanilla-scented granola was one of the treats I made to include in my Christmas packages this year, and while granola doesn’t generally excite me all that much, I really enjoyed this one quite a bit. I even kept a bag for myself and have been eating it with Greek yogurt for breakfast many mornings. All of the vanilla extract gives it a nice floral sweetness and texturally it has just the right amount of crunch. Like all granolas, it’s highly adaptable too – you could easily substitute your favorite nut or dried fruit. I think my next batch might include coconut flakes as well, so definitely feel free to make it your own.

Hope you’re having a great weekend!

Vanilla-Scented Granola
adapted from Bon Appetit, March 2002 (via Epicurious.com)

4 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup pecans
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 300 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the oats, pecans, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon in a large heatproof bowl. Add the oil, honey, and granulated sugar to a small saucepan. Set over medium heat and bring to a simmer then turn off the heat and mix in the vanilla extract. Pour the hot oil mixture over the oat mixture and use a rubber spatula to mix until the ingredients are well combined.

Spread the granola on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the granola is golden brown, stirring occasionally. Let the granola cool then add the dried cranberries and stir to incorporate. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Makes about 8 cups