Cranberry Orange Pecan Granola

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Crunchy and citrusy low-fat granola studded with tart dried cranberries and earthy pecans.
An easy and healthy breakfast or snack!
 

Cranberry Orange Pecan Granola -- sweet, crunchy & skinny! It's so easy to make and great for gifts.
 

On Sunday, the 4-year-old boy from our backyard neighbor’s house bounded up our driveway and knocked energetically. In the middle of a tearful blog-traffic-breakdown (not one of my finer moments!), I asked my guy to open the door. Before he could even eke out a, “Hi!” our little neighbor spoke up.  

 

“Is Amy there?”

 

“She can’t come to the door right now. Can I help—”

 

“I need Amy! Is Amy there?”

 

Cranberry Orange Pecan Granola -- sweet, crunchy & skinny! It's so easy to make and great for gifts.
 

Standing 6 feet away in the kitchen and eavesdropping the entire time, I wiped away my waterworks and walked over to the door. Kneeling down to his level, I greeted him. “Hey Colin! What’s up?”

 

He shyly brought his hands to his mouth with a small giggle and replied, “We—uhh—we threw a ball over the fence.” Except little kids tend to talk extremely fast when excited, so it came out more like, “We—uh—wethrewaballoverthefence.” Adorable.

 

“Would you like us to toss it back over?”

 

“Yes please! Thanks you!”

 

“You’re welcome Colin. See you later!” I called as he dashed back down the driveway.

 

Cranberry Orange Pecan Granola -- sweet, crunchy & skinny! It's so easy to make and great for gifts.
 

Three minutes later, I watched through the kitchen window as two tiny heads bounced back up to our front door. After waiting for the knock, I suppressed a smile and crouched down again.

 

Between giggles, Colin managed to get out, “We threw it over again!”

 

His 6-year-old sister chimed in. “It’ll be the last time, I promise!”

 

“It’s okay,” I replied. “As long as you’re having fun, I don’t mind!”

 

“Okay,” they chorused.

 

“See you soon!”

 

Classic little kids. So sweet!

 

Cranberry Orange Pecan Granola -- sweet, crunchy & skinny! It's so easy to make and great for gifts.
 

Do you know what else is a sweet and classic combination? Cranberries and oranges. I tend to forget about it until the holidays when grocery stores start stocking bags of fresh cranberries, but my friend Sally jogged my memory a bit earlier this year with her moist quick bread. Instead of mimicking her and baking a loaf too, I chose granola as my canvas, which resulted in…

 

Cranberry Orange Pecan Granola.

 

That’s right! This granola packs quite a flavorful punch with its bright citrusy tang. Coupled with the tart chewy cranberries and soft earthy pecans, it’s bound to disappear entirely in a day or two. After mindlessly crunching through a few servings while working one afternoon, I packed away the rest to give to my dad at Thanksgiving so I’d stop eating it all. A few days later, he called to tell me how much he’d been enjoying it for breakfasts!

 

Cranberry Orange Pecan Granola -- sweet, crunchy & skinny! It's so easy to make and great for gifts.
 

The base itself is fairly simple: just old-fashioned oats and rice krispies. Instant oats will not work for this recipe. With their heartier texture and earthy flavor, old-fashioned oats act as a more substantial backdrop for the granola and hold together better. Gluten-free oats should substitute well. The rice krispies provide extra crunch and bulk up the granola, helping create more clusters. I add them to all of my recipes! (See here, here, here, and here.)

 

The base for the liquid ingredients consists of oil, maple syrup, and orange juice. The OJ can be freshly squeezed or straight from the carton; both work equally well. To enhance the citrusy tang, I also added a teaspoon of orange zest. Don’t skip this—it really helps the fruit flavor pop!

 

I mixed in one more secret ingredient to the liquids: an egg white! The egg white boosts the amount of protein to keep you fuller longer. For a vegan version, skip the egg white and add another 2 tablespoons of OJ instead.

 

Many granola recipes require you to heat the liquid ingredients to form a thicker syrup. Not this one! Heating would cook the egg white, and nobody wants to mix scrambled eggs into their cereal. (Trust me, I did that by accident once while cooking oatmeal.)

 

Cranberry Orange Pecan Granola -- sweet, crunchy & skinny! It's so easy to make and great for gifts.
 

When baking the granola, it’s important to stir every 10-15 minutes. If you wait any longer, the cereal closest to the pan’s edges browns rather quickly and threatens to burn. Break up the granola and stir it around with a spoon, but be gentle if you want bigger clusters!

 

Once cool, toss the dried cranberries and pecans into your granola. Use as much or as little as you’d like! I generally prefer more fruit than nuts in mine, but sometimes I omit both altogether. It’s how I justify sneaking another handful! (Or two… Or three…)

 

With how simple the granola was to make, I might bake a few batches as Christmas gifts for my guy’s big extended family. Presented in a jar with a cute little bow, they’re bound to be a hit!

 

Cranberry Orange Pecan Granola -- sweet, crunchy & skinny! It's so easy to make and great for gifts.
 

Cranberry Orange Pecan Granola

Yield: 8 servings

Serving Size: heaping 1/3 cup

Cranberry Orange Pecan Granola

This sweet granola has a really bright orange flavor, while the chewy cranberries and soft pecans provide a nice textural contrast. The granola will stay crunchy if stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

1 ½ c old-fashioned oats (or gluten-free)
1 ½ c rice krispies cereal
¼ c orange juice
1 tsp orange zest
½ tbsp oil
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 egg white, lightly beaten
3 tbsp dried cranberries
2 tbsp chopped pecans

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F, and lightly coat a 9” square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the oats and rice krispies cereal. In a separate bowl, whisk together the orange juice, orange zest, oil, maple syrup, and egg white. Pour over the cereal, and stir with a spatula until evenly coated.
  3. Spread into the prepared pan, and bake at 350°F for 40-45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes, or until golden and crunchy. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan before breaking up any large clumps with your fingers. Cool to room temperature; then toss in the dried cranberries and pecans. Store in an airtight container.

Notes: Make sure you stir every 15 minutes! If you wait longer, the granola closest to the edges of the pan will brown too quickly and may acquire a burnt taste. You can also stir every 10 minutes after the first 15 minutes in the oven.

For a vegan version, replace the egg white with an additional 2 tablespoons of orange juice.

© Amys Healthy Baking. Recipe and all images protected. Please obtain my written permission before using images. If republishing this recipe, please rewrite it in your own words or link back to this post.
http://amyshealthybaking.com/blog/2013/12/03/cranberry-orange-pecan-granola/

View Nutrition Facts

 

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Comments

  1. sally @ sallys baking addiction says on December 4, 2013 at 6:11 am

    This granola has my name written all over it. What a perfect healthy snack to munch on for the holidays, Amy!

    • Amy says on December 4, 2013 at 11:13 am

      Thank you Sally! With how sweet and pretty your Cranberry Orange Bread looked, I really wanted to use the flavors too. Happy (early) holidays! :)

  2. Karey @ Nutty About Health says on December 4, 2013 at 11:46 am

    Cute story about the little kids. :)
    The granola looks great!! Good combination!

    • Amy says on December 4, 2013 at 2:35 pm

      Thanks Karey! It’s one of the things I love about living in a house instead of an apartment: there are lots of families nearby with cute kids. And they’re always excited to accept my baked goodies! ;)

  3. Gretchen @ Two Healthy Kitchens says on December 5, 2013 at 11:42 am

    You know I love granola!! This looks just perfect for this time of year!! I make homemade granola all the time – but adding OJ is so smart! And the orange zest – you are totally right – it will make all the difference in the world!
    I just love little kids – your neighbors sound so sweet! And they must be fond of you, too! Especially if your guy wasn’t capable of throwing the ball back (in the little one’s eyes!). We have about a bajillion kids in our neighborhood – and I love seeing them outside running around! :)
    Super pretty pics on this post! Love the one from above with the jar! Pinned for my readers!

    • Amy says on December 5, 2013 at 12:35 pm

      Gretchen, you are so sweet — thank you for your kind words and pinning my recipe! I think little kids always admire anyone who’s in between their age and their parents’ age. I know I did; as a 5-year-old, I thought my gorgeous 12-year-old baby-sitter was the coolest person ever!

  4. Katy says on December 5, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    Granola!!! My family absolutely loves making granola. We usually make it with wheat germ and oatmeal which makes it a softer type. Your recipe however sounds wonderful and nice and crunchy! I am definitely going to have to give it a try. Thanks!

    • Amy says on December 5, 2013 at 4:31 pm

      Your family’s granola sounds delicious Katy! A lot of the time, I flipflop between whether I crave soft or crunchy granola. I’ve never put wheat germ in granola before, but it sound really healthy. I hope you enjoy this recipe!

  5. Princess says on December 8, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    Could honey be used instead of maple syrup?

    • Amy says on December 8, 2013 at 10:31 pm

      Yes! You can replace the maple syrup with honey. I hope you enjoy the granola Princess! :)

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