Making your own granola has always seemed a simple but time-consuming task. (In hindsight I think I've gone too fancy with too many ingredients – too much flair for something that did not need it.) This time I started basic with the oats, maple syrup and some pecans. Once baked I added dried fruit (prechopped from the bulk store) and coconut strips – leaving the coconut intact, thus fuss free and visually inviting. The whole process is now a matter of knowing how to stir and line a baking sheet with parchment. Results are addictive.
To make about 4 cups: In a large bowl combine 3 cups plain rolled oats (do not confuse with instant), 1 to 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans and 1 1/2 teaspoon salt (you can also add some cinnamon or nutmeg).
Stir to combine. In a measuring cup combine 1/2 cup maple syrup and 1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used grapeseed oil for its neutral taste).
Pour the oil and syrup mixture over the oats and stir well until completely coated. Lay evenly on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake in a 300 F oven for 45 minutes or until the oats are browned and the kitchen smells amazingly good.
Stir at the 30 minute mark. Allow to cool (it will crisp up as it cools) and add any dried fruit you like – I used dried blueberries, golden raisins and chopped apricot, plus the coconut.
Note: The salt brings out all the flavours and contrasts the sweetness of the maple syrup – this is what will make your granola extra sublime. If you are watching your salt intake, you can use less. But I wouldn't go lower than 1 tsp.