Saturday Morning: Vanilla-Maple Granola

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

-Up and at them, George McFadden. It's daylight in the swamp!-

“Wake up.”

It’s eleven o’clock and BF is still under the covers trying to sleep. “Trying” is the key word as by this time on a Saturday I, Roommate, and the cats are all going about our business. The cats are bouncing all over the place running into one room to stop and freak out before dashing to the next, I’m usually cooking with reruns of Sex and the City or Xena blasting in the background, and Roommate may or may not be on the phone loudly chattering away like a chipmunk with a megaphone.

This morning might be exceptionally hard for BF as I sit on his stomach and grin at him, plodding him to finally get out of bed. Of course, it isn’t as bad as the mornings where I rush in in an exaggerated chipper attitude, yank open the curtains to let the light in, and beam in a sing-songy voice, “Rise and shine! It’s a beautiful day! It’s the first day of the rest of your life!” and so on. I’m like Julie Andrews on ecstasy. It is hilarious. At least to me.

My mom did this way too many times to me as a child to wake me up for school. Generally, I would just roll over and throw the covers over my head and dream of her falling down a well. If she was really in the mood to harass me she would go the extra step and whip the covers off me and barrage me with kisses, and hugs, and affirmations of how much she loved me. By that point the only thing I was self-affirming was matricide.

As an adult though, yes, being on the giving end of this is endlessly fun.

BF, however, just sort of gives me empty look and sighs. He resigned himself to my eccentricities some time ago. Now he just puts up with it and settles for getting me back at some point when he’s more awake. This usually takes the form of waking me up in some terrifying manner (that time he pretended to be a burglar easily chopped a few years off my lifespan) or creeping up on me and swatting me on the butt hard with enough force to cause physiscits to study us.

Lucky for me, I have food to mollify him.

-Open wide!-

“Open,” I command while pushing food into his face.

“What is it?” he yawns. He scrounges his face trying to adjust his eyes and analyze what is being forced on him.

‘Questions, questions. Too many questions. When I have ever fed you something weird by surprise?” (Weird with warning, yes, many times. Never by surprise.) “Now eat.”

He opens and I pop it in his mouth. He begins to chew and I leave before even getting a response.

I know that he is no longer annoyed. In fact, he’ll probably, finally, wake up and start his day like the rest of us.

“It’s homemade granola!” I shout back before he can ask what it is.

-I mean, really, isn't it obvious what it is?-

I plop back on the couch to watch some more TV as I wait for the granola to cool. The recipe is one of the best out there as far as I’m concerned. I strong-armed it out of one of the line cooks at Grange during my internship there before taking it home and tinkering with it a bit. A bit of vanilla bean, some orange zest, and heavy hand of coconut makes it one of the simplest and most epic recipe in my repertoire. In fact, this granola is downright addictive, which is why I don’t make it all the time. Otherwise, I would be fat from oats and dried fruit.

A few minutes later BF stumbles into the kitchen and begins hunting for the top of the French press. Depending on who unloaded it the night before it can be in one of three places. Today it’s behind the coffee cups. I feel it’s a logical place as opposed to next to the wine glasses where BF puts it, or next to the coffee where Roommate thinks it’s most appropriate. After finding it he puts some water in the kettles and sets it to heat before turning and looking at the tray of cooling cereal.

“That was good granola,” he mumbles out and smiles. He grabs a handful and heads out to the patio for his morning e-cigarette session.

“FANK-voo!” my mouth full of milk and granola. My parents would be so proud to see how those etiquette classes sunk in.

A few minutes later we both sit down for lunch to a bowl of granola and raw, whole milk from the Farmers’ Market. We pop on an episode of Family Guy and let the cats come cuddle up and get a proper start on another Saturday.

Vanilla-Maple Granola

4 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup almonds, chopped
3/4 cup flaked coconut
3/4 cup maple syrup
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out
2 T orange juice
2 T orange zest
3/4 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup dried apricots

1. Preheat your oven to 350º and adjust the top rack to the middle of the oven. Place the oats, coconut, and almonds in a large bowl. Whisk together the maple syrup, vanilla bean seeds and pod, orange juice and zest, and brown sugar in a saucepan and place over medium heat until almost smooth.

2. Pour syrup mixture over oats and stir gently to combine and the oats are well coated. Spread out onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil. Bake for twenty minutes. Cool completely. (If some of the granola is still sticky and wet bake it for another 7-10 minutes.) Break into pieces and add the dried fruit. Store in an airtight container.


  1. ?brown sugar twice in ingredients? one cup or two? Sounds great though

  2. This sounds yummy! I love granola but have never mixed up my own. That's about to change. . .

  3. You're an awesome writer. And photographer. And, yeah, granola maker, too.

  4. This sounds great! (Do you hear my stomach growling? Yeah, sorry about that...)

    I love maple syrup, but not when it's baked. I know, I'm strange.

    Do you think that I could replace the syrup with honey and still come out tasty or should I add something else to balance the flavors?

    Thanks! I've been really wanting to make granola.

  5. redstrands: You know, I haven't tried it so I can't say but go for it and let me know if it works out. I imagine it would be fine.

  6. So I didn't necessarily follow the letter of the recipe, but it's spirit, and as a starting point to making my own granola, it's exactly what I was looking for!

    I tried it with honey, and it's looking like it's going to be pretty tasty. It smells delicious! The orange flavor is stronger than the vanilla though, so if I make it again, I'll cut back on the citrus, since I've been playing around with making a honey-vanilla granola. I also used 1/4 cup each of pistachios, cashews and almonds, since I like varied nuts. And I cut out the brown sugar, and subbed a 1/4 cup of vanilla sugar, since I figured it might amp up the vanilla flavor, and cut back on the sugar content. And, finally, since I didn't have cherries, I used dried blueberries.

    I love your writing, photos and recipes, and this particular post came just as I was searching for a new granola recipe to try. I'm so glad I checked it first!

  7. Isn't it funny how we find ourselves doing the annoying things our parents did to us?

    I see a lot of granola recipes, but I'm pretty sure this one is tops. It's the exact color a good granola should be. I book marked it! Thanks :)

  8. This looks perfect. I can't imagine a better start to a morning, Saturday or otherwise!

  9. I love my granola, and this looks fantastic. The pictures are lovely.

  10. I have a pretty good go-to granola recipe, but that doesn't mean I can't try out more! This looks excellent.

    I'm with Roommate - I'd store it by the coffee. Definitely not the wine glasses.

  11. I made this Sunday night, when I had some free time and wanted my apartment to smell delicious. I had to switch out the dried fruit, because it turned out my stores of both cherries and apricots were looking rough. Regardless, this stuff is amazing. I seriously think I could eat it all day long and not want anything else. I don't know if I should thank you or curse you for bringing this granola recipe into my life.

  12. I made this yesterday and it was terrific. Thanks for the nice, sophisticated taste with the citrus, vanilla, and the dried fruit. My family and I enjoyed it.

  13. RAVegan & Jennie: So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Yeah, it's a curse for us too as we eat it WAY too quickly.

  14. Seriously. My kitchen smells like heaven and I don't think I can wait until the weekend (I made it for a baby shower brunch) to eat ALL of it. So yummy and SO much better than my old homemade granola recipe. Thanks :)

  15. I'm new to your blog and this recipe sounded sooooo yummy, I had everything in my pantry and knew tat I had to try it! I have mine in the oven right now and it smells absolutely divine! I'm making mine with cranberries and raisins, though, as that was what I had in my pantry!

  16. Uaskigyrl: How nice for you to have stumbled here. I hope you enjoy the granola. =D

  17. Would you believe that I've only just recently discovered that I like maple syrup? I hate pretty much all viscous syrups, probably due to a childhood full of honey and cocky's joy (golden syrup). I had it for the first time 2 months ago, and I loved it! I started searching for granola recipes that used it and vanilla, and yours popped up! I looked at it and I knew I had to make it. I did a few tweaks, only 1/2cup of syrup and of packed brown sugar, and I added 1/2cup of chopped hazelnuts. I threw in the whole vanilla bean instead of half, and only used about 1-1.5tsp of zest and the juice of half an orange. I love my vanilla, so I added 1tb as well (I swear I have used about 1lt of it this year!). It came out nice and biscuity, it looked like an Anzac biscuit slice! I had 1/2cup this morning with 1/3cup of vanilla yogurt.... so good! Thanks for a great recipe!!


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