Agave-sweetened Pecan Coconut Granola – The Marriage of Two Great Recipes

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Agave-sweetened Pecan Coconut GranolaI’ve never thought of myself as a recipe developer, more of a recipe modifier or follower. With so many years of following under my belt now (I’m not talking about my girth people, it’s just an expression), I’ve gained weight the confidence to alter ingredients or methods and still end up with a yummy result.

So when faced with two fabulous granola recipes last Saturday and unwilling (incapable??) of choosing one over the other, I combined the two – one from Melissa Clark, NY Times food writer and cookbook author and the other from Cheryl Sternman Rule, award-winning food blogger of 5secondrule and author of a beautiful cookbook about fruits and vegetables called RIPE.

Melissa Clark’s granola recipe originally appeared in the NY Times (and was modified in her cookbook Cook This Now). Cheryl Sternman Rule’s recipe appeared in  her blog 5secondrule.

Granola is one of those creations that with a few practice runs, you’ll find yourself preparing in your own style, likely without even glancing at a recipe. But to understand the technique and figure out your family’s sweetness quotient and love for nuts or dried fruit mix-ins, you’ve got to start somewhere, then take notes on the raves and criticisms and adjust it to your own style.

Agave-sweetened Pecan Coconut Granola
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Agave-sweetened Pecan Coconut Granola

Cheryl’s recipe relies on agave nectar to sweeten it, while Melissa’s uses maple syrup and a little brown sugar. Agave has a lower glycemic index than other sweeteners and packs a sweeter punch, so you use a bit less. I’ve made granola with maple syrup, though, with wonderful results. For the oil, Cheryl uses canola, while Melissa uses olive oil in the NY Times version and coconut oil (an expensive but healthy alternative) in her Cook This Now version. Both also use dried coconut, in addition to the oats and other seeds, nuts, and dried fruit. I’ve made granola with and without coconut – satisfying either way – depends on your personal relationship with the multi-talented tropical fruit. But be careful about using sweetened vs. unsweetened. If you use sweetened coconut, you’ll need to cut down on the sweetener in the granola.
Course Breakfast
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Calories 353 kcal
Author Beth Lee


  • 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats not quick cooking
  • 1 ½ cups or more roughly chopped raw pecans (Cheryl’s recipe uses pistachios, which is a great choice as well but they cook more quickly than pecans so add them in 10 minutes into the baking instead of mixing in at the beginning)
  • ½ - 1 cup hulled pumpkin seeds if you have any
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ cup olive oil can use canola oil
  • ½ cup agave nectar can use approx. 2/3 cup maple syrup & ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • dried fruit options: cherries, apricots, raisins (if you use dried fruit, add it in after the baking is done, as soon as it comes out of the oven; we prefer our granola crunchy, not chewy and leave out the fruit)


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees, or 300 convect.
  2. Have two sheet pans ready, lined with silicone mats or parchment paper (optional).
  3. In a large bowl, stir together the first six ingredients – oats, coconut, pumpkin seeds, nuts, cinnamon, and salt
  4. In a smaller bowl, stir together the oil, agave nectar, vanilla and almond extract. Add this mixture to the larger bowl and combine well.
  5. Spread in an even layer on the two sheet pans. Bake for approx. 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so. Note the color before you place them in the oven – it's done when it has noticeably darkened. It will be soft when you first take it out. Let it cool on the sheet pans. It will harden as it does. Store in a glass jar, cereal holder, or Ziploc bag. (Remember to add the dried fruit as soon as it comes out of the oven if you are using any.)
  6. Eat alone as a snack, top your favorite yogurt, add bananas, strawberries, and milk or sprinkle on your favorite frozen yogurt or ice cream.



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15 Responses to Agave-sweetened Pecan Coconut Granola – The Marriage of Two Great Recipes

  1. rachelcotterill May 6, 2012 at 2:23 pm #

    Looks delicious 🙂 Visiting from SITS (not-quite-Saturday) Sharefest.

    • Beth (OMG! Yummy) May 6, 2012 at 9:16 pm #

      Thanks for stopping by – I’m usually in the Sunday not Saturday Sharefest crowd myself. Fits my life motto as a parent: Better late than never.

  2. jessieakos May 2, 2012 at 1:40 pm #

    Hi there! I found you on Sitsgirls, and I’m very excited about this recipe and your blog!

  3. Carol Sacks May 2, 2012 at 9:46 am #

    Love the mix-and-match approach, Beth! Great shots, too.

    • Beth (OMG! Yummy) May 2, 2012 at 3:24 pm #

      Hard to go wrong when the starting material is so good :-). And thanks for the photo lesson/encouragement the other day!

  4. healthyyou72 May 1, 2012 at 9:44 pm #

    This sounds so good! I love love pecans, this would be a lovely breakfast for sure:-) Hugs, Terra

    • Beth (OMG! Yummy) May 2, 2012 at 8:48 am #

      My son and I are pecan freaks – I can never get enough of how they taste once toasted and married with the slightly sweet oats, and tasty coconut, it’s a knock-out for breakfast or a snack anytime.

  5. cheryl May 1, 2012 at 7:34 pm #

    The only reason I don’t make granola ALL THE TIME is because it’s so good that we eat it obsessively. I made the mistake of buying a box of granola for the first time in years two weeks ago, and it really just pales in comparison to the homemade stuff.

    Enjoy your new twist!

    • Beth (OMG! Yummy) May 1, 2012 at 9:01 pm #

      I did the same, and the box just sits on the shelf, hardly touched. Thanks for inspiring me to get in the granola game 🙂

  6. Style Mentor™ May 1, 2012 at 3:42 pm #

    YUMMY!!!!!!!!!! Can’t wait to make this!

    • Beth (OMG! Yummy) May 1, 2012 at 9:00 pm #

      Let me know when you give it a try and what you think. Don’t be afraid to play with the ingredients to suit your tastes or what you have on hand.

  7. lizthechef May 1, 2012 at 2:57 pm #

    A perfect marriage of 2 recipes – I have yet to make good granola. Here’s my chance!

    • Beth (OMG! Yummy) May 1, 2012 at 8:59 pm #

      Oh that’s hard to believe Liz – my variation or either one of theirs as is will yield a wonderful granola that you will consume far too quickly, I assure you.

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