Big chunk granola with maple syrup, almonds, pecans and dried blueberries – and nearly no added oil.
Blueberry pie. Big chunk granola. The state of Maine. That’s what this breakfast enthusiast is excited about today.
For those of you following the US primaries – perhaps in horror – you may be aware that today (the sixth of March) is the day of the Democratic caucus in Maine, and the Republican primary in sunny Puerto Rico.
As much as I love saying ‘Puerto Rico’, today’s recipe is inspired by America’s most eastern state and birthplace of the author Stephen King: Maine.
When you think of Maine’s cuisine, the first thing that probably comes to mind is ‘lobster rolls’. But the Pine Tree State is known for much more than its crustaceans.
Maine is famous for its wild blueberries, and the blueberry pie is the official state dessert.
For your interest, the official state treat is the whoopie pie, which some people believe was invented in Maine. But Pennsylvania also lays claim to the whoopie pie, and I have no interest in getting in the middle of a pie fight. Things could get messy.
So today I’m setting aside the whoopie pies (and Moxie sodas and lobsters and Pat’s Pizzas) and focusing on blueberry pie. Specifically, blueberry pie granola. Super specifically, blueberry pie big chunk granola.
If you’re after big, crunchy chunks of excitement, then the key is to (a) use the right granola recipe – okay, that’s probably a given; and (b) don’t stir the granola! Once the granola’s in the oven, leave it alone. Put away those forks and spoons, because this granola does not want to be disturbed.
After removing the granola from the oven, let it cool completely on the baking sheet. Again, don’t mix it, stir it, or manhandle it in any way. Then the granola will cool into giant pieces, which you can break into chunks.
Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at Exhibit A …
Admittedly, I was awfully tempted to just leave the granola like that. But my more practical side won out.
The blueberry part of this blueberry pie (big chunk) granola comes from dried blueberries. Which are sweet and chewy and packed with so much more flavor than you’d expect.
Of course, if this recipe was going to be truly Maine-inspired, I would’ve used dried wild Maine blueberries. But this is life, and life doesn’t always give you access to a bunch of Maine blueberries (unfortunately).
By the way, if you just happen to have some Maine blueberries (fresh or dried) hanging around, then do yourself a favor and add them to this granola. Just make sure you don’t add any fresh berries until serving/eating, otherwise they may cause your precious granola to become soft.
And finally, I simply have to share a few more fun facts with you: Maine is the only US state whose name is only one syllable, the state animal is the moose, and the honeybee is the official state insect.
Yes, Maine’s legislature, in 1975, decided to designate an official state insect.
- ⅓ cup (80mL) maple syrup
- ¼ cup (70g) almond butter
- 2 tablespoons (25g) brown sugar, packed
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons blackstrap molasses
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 ½ cups (245g) rolled oats
- ½ cup (60g) slivered almonds
- ⅓ cup (40g) chopped pecans
- ⅓ cup (55g) dried blueberries
- Preheat the oven to 340°F (170°C). Line a large baking sheet with non-stick paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, almond butter, brown sugar, vanilla extract, blackstrap molasses, cinnamon and salt.
- Add the rolled oats, slivered almonds and chopped pecans. Mix until well combined.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 19 - 22 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through, or until the granola is golden brown. Avoid mixing or stirring the granola.
- Allow the granola to cool completely. Once cooled, break it into chunks and sprinkle over the dried blueberries. Store the granola in an airtight container.
Ideally, use an almond butter that has oil added (not the 'natural' oil-free kind).
When done, the granola should be a little crunchy (especially around the edges of the tray), however, it will become crunchier as it cools.
Don’t mix the granola around during baking, or while it’s cooling.