Cranberry Maple Granola


I’m finally clearing out the dust bunnies and cobwebs from my little food blog, which has been somewhat abandoned on a shelf for a while while my job has been the focus of my creative energy. The last six months have been exhilarating, exhausting, and exciting, but as a result, I’ve felt culinarily dead inside. I’ve been in triage mode: cooking only the fastest and easiest recipes in my arsenal (that is, when I cooked at all) and focusing on meals that made lots of leftovers so I only needed to cook every few days. Finally though, the muse is slowly re-awakening. I am interested once more in trying out new recipes, and more importantly, taking twice as long to make them so I can take pictures of the process to share with you.

But I’m not jumping back into the deep end, exactly. What I needed was some granola, and when I felt pretty meh about the options available in the cereal aisle, I grabbed a canister of oats ran for it, deciding I’d figure something out when I got home. And thanks to my sister’s excellent Christmas present, I found the answer pretty quickly: a ridiculously easy granola recipe with only three ingredients. I decided to add a fourth, but only because I had some cranberries in the pantry.

I’ve made granola before, and I’ll be honest, there are a few reasons I don’t make it very often. First, I go through phases with yogurt, so it’s not something that strikes my fancy very often. Second, it’s kind of a hassle to round up all the ingredients. So this recipe, with only oats, salt, and maple syrup, sounded too good to be true. BUT IT ISN’T.

After a few quick stirs to cover the oats with syrup, the mixture is just spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet and baked for less than 20 minutes. The finished product has every attribute I care about in granola: lightly sweet, extremely crunchy, easy to make, and easy to clean up.

You can leave out the cranberries, or swap them for dried apples, or add nuts or sunflower seeds, or whatever. It’s your granola. But there’s really no need for a ton of ingredients, multiple kinds of sweetener, or chopping of anything. This is yogurt-ready in less than half an hour from start to finish.

I honestly don’t know why anyone would ever make granola any other way.

Cranberry Maple Granola
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen Every Day

2 c rolled oats
1/2 c dried cranberries
1/2 c maple syrup
1/2 tsp sea salt

Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix until oats are coated in syrup. Spread evenly across a large, parchment-lined baking sheet, making sure to limit clumps to a minimum.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, checking it at 10 minutes and every 2-3 minutes thereafter to make sure it doesn’t burn. The oats should be lightly golden brown across the pan, with slightly darker edges. Cool completely on the baking sheet, then remove and crumble up before storing in an airtight container.