Butter Pecan Granola

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I cannot even believe there’s only about 1 week left until Christmas. My house has been decorated for a while and I have been wrapping way too many gifts (note to self, next year needs less gifts). The thing is…I have baked exactly zero cookies. I don’t know what’s going on, but I need to make some cookies happen asap. BUT, I have baked 2 batches of this granola for gifting and it is pretty much the equivalent of a cookie in granola form.

A buttery, oat-y, pecan studded, and maple soaked cookie in a granola outfit.

I usually go the coconut or olive oil route with granola, but since tis’ the season and all that jingle-jangley-Christmas-jazz, I went with butter. OH, MAN. Granola game changer. The butter gets that browned flavor from the long, low bake in the oven and mingles with the maple syrup that sweetens the granola in the most perfect, amazing, way. It’ll make your kitchen smell like butter and maple drenched heaven. It’s definitely not you’re health-conscious-crunchy-granola. More like your butter-drenched-sweet-and-decadent type of granola. I couldn’t help but eat a handful (okay, maybe 2) right off the sheet pan, still warm. I mean, the oats make it healthy-ish and the buttery, maple-y, pecan and coconut studded bits make it special and oh-so holiday appropriate. I packed it into jars and added a little tag for a super-easy, super-delicious gift.

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Butter Pecan Granola

Adapted from my Coconut Oil Granola recipe.

3 cups rolled oats

1 cup pecans

1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat your oven to 325ºF and lightly grease a baking sheet (I love to use coconut oil spray for this).

In a large mixing bow, combine the oats, pecans, coconut, salt, and cinnamon.

In a small saucepan combine the maple syrup and butter. Heat over medium-high until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Add the maple-butter mixture to the oats mixture and stir to coat completely. Spread the mixture evenly onto the prepared baking sheet and bake in 15 minute intervals, stirring between each, for about 1 hour or until the granola is golden and starting to crisp. It will become more crisp as it cools.

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Hot Cocoa Mix and Vanilla Marshmallows

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Guys! The world totes didn’t end, so if you’ve maybe put off your holiday gifts I have this super easy Hot Cocoa Mix with Vanilla Marshmallows for ya.

I always try to put together gifts that I would like to receive–since I’m kind of picky, I’m my own holiday litmus test. One of my favorite wintertime gifts is a new mug. Just a mug though seems a little wan to me, so I like to add a little something homemade to make it personal and sweet. This hot cocoa mix comes together in about 2 minutes, while the marshmallows take a little longer, but if you have a mixer it will do a bulk of the work for you. To make the marshmallows extra special and glitzy, I like to add about 1/4 teaspoon luster dust (found with cake decorating supplies) into the dusting mixture  It makes the ‘mallows shimmer a bit and takes them into gifting territory. Certain people in my life are receiving this exact gift. I’m hoping they love it as much as I love them.

Speaking of love, Happy Holidays! You are amazing and thank you for reading my crazy ramblings, peeping at my pictures, and being generally awesome.

Love and Peace to you all! XO!

Hot Cocoa Mix and Vanilla Marshmallows

Since this cocoa mix relies mainly on 2 ingredients, use a cocoa powder you really love. I used Valrhona–which is my favorite of favorites. I think a little espresso powder would be a nice addition as well. The marshmallows can be flavored however you’d like–peppermint would be super fun and appropriate, I think.

Cocoa Mix:

Adapted from Martha Stewart

3 cups sugar

1 vanilla bean (optional)

2 cups cocoa powder

Whole Milk to serve.

Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and in a bowl, rub the vanilla seeds into the sugar until fragrant and well dispersed. Add the cocoa powder and whisk to combine.

For Cocoa: Stir 1-2 Tablespoons cocoa mix with 8 ounces of hot milk. Top with marshmallows.

Vanilla Marshmallows:

Adapted from this recipe. 

2/3 cup cold water

4 teaspoons powdered gelatin

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 vanilla bean

1/2 cup water

scant teaspoon vanilla

2 Tablespoons each powdered sugar and cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon luster dust–optional

In a small bowl sprinkle the gelatin over the 2/3 cup water and set aside to soften.

Spray a 9X13inch pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a gallon bag, shake together the powdered sugar, cornstarch, and luster dust. Set aside.

Scrape the seeds from a vanilla bean and in a bowl rub seeds into the sugar until fragrant and well dispersed. In a medium saucepan combine sugar with water and stir gently to moisten. Heat the sugar and water over medium heat without stirring, until sugar dissolves and comes to a boil, cook 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in gelatin and vanilla to combine.

Using a hand or stand mixer, beat the syrup until it becomes light in color, voluminous, and holds a medium-stiff peak. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and dust the top with powdered sugar. Allow to set up several hours before cutting and shaking the pieces in the powdered sugar mix to coat well. Can be kept in an air tight container for up to 2 weeks.