Chocolate cherry pecan cookie granola.

It’s such a small world, isn’t it? In my many years as editor and brand leader for HOW, I collaborated with many insanely creative and smart people, including Alison Strickland. Alison’s the senior PR manager for The Creative Group, a longtime content partner for HOW (whose blog for creative freelancers I contribute to pretty regularly). Alison and I worked on projects for the magazine, the website and events, but I don’t think we’ve ever met in person. (Or maybe we did, once, fleetingly, at the HOW Design Conference.) Anyway.

Until a mutual friend mentioned it recently, I had no idea Alison was a fellow food blogger. No. Idea. What a miss: Her Two of a Kind Cooks (co-‘written’ with her sweet dog, Rookie), is a treasure. I love Alison’s recipes and her enthusiasm. Her food photography makes me green with envy.

As a granola enthusiast (witness: almond granola, Granddad’s granola, granola bars) I was particularly smitten with Alison’s “cranola” idea: cookie + granola. Whaaaat?

Recently, we decided to play in the kitchen together and create a mashup of her cranola concept and my favorite pecan-cranberry-chocolate granola recipe. See Alison’s version, Almond Berry Chocolate Cookie Granola, on Two of a Kind Cooks. I decided to stick with pecans instead of Alison’s almonds (though almonds are never a bad choice); my version, below, is Pecan Cranberry Chocolate Cookie Granola.

This cookie + granola thing has totally rocked my world. It’s great as a nibbly snack, or crumbled on yogurt or ice cream. Thanks, Alison!

pecan cranberry chocolate cookie granola

makes about 4 cups

½ cup chopped pecans, divided
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup coconut oil, room temperature
1 large egg
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose (or white whole-wheat) flour
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
2½ cups old-fashioned oats
¼ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup milk or semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. In a food processor, pulse ¼ cup pecans and the sugar until coarsely ground. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl using a hand mixer), beat the coconut oil and pecan/sugar mixture on high speed until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat until well combined. Add the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt and mix until just combined. Add the oats and remaining pecans and stir; when the mixture gets stiff, use your hands to continue mixing until the oats and pecans are evenly incorporated into the dough. Use your hands to squish irregular chunks of dough onto the baking sheet; if you have any mixture that doesn't want to clump together, just add that to the baking sheet (it'll be delicious on yogurt). Bake the cranola for 15 minutes, remove from the oven and stir gently. Bake for another 10 minutes, remove from the oven and stir gently. Bake for an additional 5–10 minutes until the clumps are dry. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and scatter the cranberries over the hot cranola. Let cool for 15 minutes and then scatter the chocolate chips over the cranola. Let cool completely before stirring (or the chocolate chips will melt).
Store the cranola in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week, if it lasts that long.


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