Honey Pecan Granola

I know more about honey and honey bees than I care to admit.

That’s what happens when you’re trapped in a car with a beekeeper for 10 hours. And you can’t change the subject. Because, unbelievably, you’re on your way to an apiary. In another state. His buddy’s apiary, that is. All because his honey bees died in the great Virginia honey bee famine of 2009.

And you think you have an interesting job. Please.

Did you know that there are different types of honey bees? How about the fact that the taste of honey varies depending on which floral sources the bees frequent for nectar? Don’t say I never taught you anything.

All feelings about my aforementioned road trip aside, I love honey.

It’s delicious. It’s good for you. And it’s one of the most versatile foods out there. Eat it plain on your morning wheat toast. Use it as a sweetener in your cup of tea. Substitute it for granulated sugar in your favorite recipes. Put it in your bath for a luxurious milk and honey soak.

Or use it to make this awesome honey pecan granola.

Honey Pecan Granola

Active time: 10 minutes
Start to finish: 30-50 minutes

4 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup oat bran
2 cups whole pecans, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups medium diced dried apricots, pears, or apples
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup dried cranberries

Heat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the oats, oat bran, pecans, and sunflower seeds. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, vanilla, and honey. Add to the oat mixture, and stir with a wooden spoon until well combined. Pour mixture onto two 13×8-inch baking sheets. Bake, stirring frequently, until the mixture is an even golden brown, 20 to 40 minutes. After the first 10 minutes, check every 5 minutes.

Remove granola from oven; let cool, stirring occasionally. Add dried apricots (or pears), golden raisins, and cranberries; stir to combine. Stored in an airtight container, it should keep for at least three weeks.

*Note: this granola bakes up a little less crunchy than a sugar-sweetened granola. For added crispness, turn off the oven, leave the door ajar, and let the granola cool there.

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