Are you addicted to this maple-y, nutty goodness, like me? It is divine. But the bags are so very small and my kids love it, too. Which means they eat all of mine. Which means I don't get any. Which means I don't buy it, because, well, for almost $3 a bag... I want at least a bowl!
So, I set out to make a copycat version. I've tried this a few times and every time I'm thrilled with the results so I feel safe sharing it with you.
To make two full sheet pans worth you will need: 10 cups of rolled oats 2.5 cups of chopped/broken pecans
2.5 cups of maple syrup
2 cups unpacked brown sugar
2/3 cup oil* (optional, see note below)
1 tsp salt
Preheat your oven to 300°, line full sheet pans with parchment, and mix up all the ingredients in a big bowl. Kids are GREAT at this recipe because it's all very preschool-friendly.
*NOTE: this recipe CAN be made oil-free. I simply substituted 2/3 C maple syrup for the oil. It is VERY sweet, though. I'm going to have to keep playing with this method and maybe reduce the amount of brown sugar to compensate.
Divide the mixture evenly and spread out on the sheet pans. You want that lip that runs all the way around, though, or you'll have a HUGE burnt sugar mess in your oven. If you don't have full sheet pans (get some) you can use a 9x13. Just put half in there or it won't cook. We're essentially cooking sugars to hard crack stage, so we can't have it all sloppy and wet.
Set your timer for 15 minutes. After the time has passed, pull the pans out, use a spatula to stir it around, rotate the pans, and put it back in the oven. It will still be wet and pale at this point.
Repeat the stirring process AT LEAST FOUR TIMES. This process is easy, but it does take a minimum of an hour. When I made it for Christmas, it took me about an hour and a half to get all of the sugar cooked out and the granola toasty. Stir/rotate every 15 minutes or it will burn.
When it's finished, you will be rewarded with this golden brown, toasty deliciousness for your bowl (or yogurt - I recommend Kite Hill unsweetened!) LET COOL BEFORE HANDLING unless you're a fugitive and don't want fingerprints anymore.
Store in a mason jar, if you want to be fancy, or an air tight container. It won't last long (at least not at my house).