If you’ve ever attended a party hosted by the Taylors — birthdays, New Year’s Eve, Christmas, Memorial Day – you know my household is big on tradition for parties. These annual gatherings have come to be designed around the food that will be served over the course of the dinner or weekend, so it’s only natural we have a bevy of go-to recipes for these events. Mama’s chicken wings, daddy’s potato salad, blondies, brownies, guacamole, and homemade tortilla chips all must make an appearance or someone will have a meltdown. Despite the time we spend reading and researching and testing new recipes, we rarely deviate from our standard menu. (We have been making the same kinds of Christmas cookies for about 2o years. I rest my case.). On the other hand, when one one of my family members initially discovers a new recipe that’s meant for a family meal during the week, we tend to obsess make it every day until it has been perfected into oblivion. I recently introduced my family to this kale salad – it will turn any leafy green skeptic into a believer.
A few months ago, my mom started making granola every other day until she came up with a recipe that suited her flavor profile, and was promptly added to our party arsenal. That’s the great and fun thing about this homemade granola — it can be adapted to your exact likes and dislikes. The recipe below, abound with chunks of nuts, a subtly sweet coconut flavor, rich tones of maple, and an unexpected bite from salt, has become my personal favorite version.
If you’re allergic to nuts, eliminate them completely and toss in a handful of each dark and white chocolate chips when it has cooled — I recently made that version for a group of 12-year-old girls and they loved it. Dried cherries and a splash of almond extract add a more sophisticated element, and makes a perfect host gift for anyone. No matter your preferred combination, your kitchen will smell absolutely divine .
Nutty Maple Cinnamon Granola
4 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup almonds, roughly chopped
1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/4 – 1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
splash of vanilla extract
2 tablespoons flax seeds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Lightly spray two edged, glass dishes with cooking spray and set aside.
Place oats, almonds, pecans, walnuts, unsweetened coconut, olive oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract in a large bowl. Mix with a spatula until mixture is glistening from oil. If it looks too dry, alternate oil and maple syrup one teaspoon at a time, mixing after each addition until granola looks wet but is not drenched. Add flax seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt, toss to fully incorporate.
Divide granola between the two glass dishes and spread it out evenly. Bake at 275 degrees for 50-60 minutes, tossing every 15-20 minutes. The finished granola will be fragrant and a deep golden color. Let cool completely before enjoying.