Call me crazy, but growing up, I was not a fan of honey. It always tasted saccharin-sweet and it was… Just. Too. Gooey. I know, a little kid worried about gooey stuff. Weird. Anyway, the only thing I liked honey on were my mom’s famous peanut butter and honey sandwiches. But I’ve since grown up, and guess what? Now, I buy honey by the gallon. I’ve come to realize that the honey I grew up eating might not have been a real bee product (instead, the little plastic bear probably held some concoction of high fructose corn syrup and yellow number five). Last summer, I discovered local honey at the farmer’s market, and folks, let me tell you, there is nothing—NOTHING—better than local honey. What’s that bit about “nectar of the gods?” Yeah, this is it. What makes it so amazing? Local honey comes from bees that live in your ‘hood. They thrive on the pollen of all your favorite wildflowers and grasses and trees, and then they make it into a sweet, wonderfully gooey product that’s bursting at the seams with local flavors. (Psst—rumor has it that if you’re suffering from allergies, try downing a spoonful of local honey each day, which will help your body get acquainted with the local allergens. I’ll be darned if that doesn’t help my spring sneezing.) Texan bees really know what they’re doing. Head over to the farmer’s market or your nearest well-stocked grocer and pick up some from your neighborhood beekeeper (we like Round Rock Honey at our house), and then whip up a batch of this Texas Honey Pecan Granola. You’ll never go store-bought again, that’s a promise. Looking for life’s simpler pleasures? Just drizzle the honey over your favorite springtime fruit and yogurt, or try a PB&H sammy on wheat bread. Texas Honey Pecan Granola 1/3 cup canola oil 1/3 cup local honey 1 tbsp vanilla extract 3 cups rolled oats 1 handful chopped Texas pecans 1 handful sliced almonds (optional*) 1 small handful sesame seeds (optional*) 1 small handful sunflower seeds (optional*) 1 tbsp brown sugar 2 tbsp toasted wheat germ (optional*) Preheat the oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients and set aside. In a small saucepan, heat oil, honey, and vanilla extract on stovetop until it bubbles, stirring occasionally. (Don’t over cook it; you just want it all incorporated. I heat it until it smells like caramel—always a good sign). Pour the hot liquid into the dry mixture and stir with a nonstick spatula (think silicone) until all the oats have been thoroughly coated. Pour the coated oats onto the baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake for 25 minutes, stirring once or twice. You’ll know it’s done when it smells toasted, but not burnt. Remove from the oven and let it cool. (Fret not, it will get crunchier as it cools down.) Once it’s completely cooled, feel free to add dried fruit at will, or even (gasp) chocolate or caramel chips. Store in an airtight container and enjoy it with or without yogurt. * Get creative—you can replace those optional handfuls with other nuts: walnuts, hazelnuts, more pecans, etc.
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