Now that Thanksgiving is over and we are heading into the biggest gift-giving season of the year, I want to share a treat that is as wonderful to distribute as it is to keep and enjoy at home. Maple-Pecan Granola is an inexpensive treat to bake, package and give to anyone on your list.

I love granola sprinkled on cooked oatmeal or cereal, by itself with fresh berries and milk, or stirred into my favorite yogurt. It's one of those items you can include in a breakfast buffet for guests that add a special touch to a usual spread. And later in the day, it makes an awesome ice-cream topper. When I want to get really fancy, I layer it with plain Greek yogurt, drizzle it with honey and top it with a fresh raspberry, as in today's serving suggestion.

So why make granola when there are many on the market? Why not? It's so simple, and more importantly, it is cheaper. You can even make a double batch and bake it at the same time by just alternating racks when you take the pans out to stir. Tie up a cellophane bag with a bright ribbon or use a Mason jar. Granola keeps at room temperature, in an airtight container, for up to three weeks.

Serving suggestion

Layer 1 to 2 tablespoons Maple-Pecan Granola alternately with plain Greek yogurt in a decorative glass. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon honey and top with a fresh raspberry.

Maple-Pecan Granola

Makes about 5 cups

Start to finish: 40 minutes


3 cups old-fashioned whole oats

1 cup pecan pieces

1/3 cup real maple syrup

4 tablespoons butter

1/3 cup light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Combine oats and pecan pieces in a medium bowl. Set aside. In 2-cup glass measure, combine maple syrup, butter, sugar and salt. Microwave, uncovered, until butter is melted, about 90 seconds. (Make sure it does not boil over inside your microwave.)

Drizzle butter mixture over oats and pecans, and stir well to mix. Spread oat mixture in a single layer on a large (11-by-17-inch) jellyroll pan.

Bake for 15 minutes, then remove to stir well. Bake another 15 minutes, until oats are golden brown and crisp. Remove and let cool completely before packaging.

Approximate values per tablespoon: 33 calories (50 percent from fat), 2g fat (0g saturated), 1.5mg cholesterol, .5g protein, 4g carbohydrates, 1g dietary fiber, 20mg sodium.

Email Beverly Mills and Alicia Ross at tellus@kitchen