Blueberry Vanilla Granola

This granola is seriously addicting. Perfectly crunchy with just the right amount of sweetness and loaded with good stuff like blueberries and flaxseed. For the past two years, Noah and I have picked a ridiculous amount of blueberries at an organic farm just west of the North Cascades. The first year we stumbled upon the blueberry Eden was after a trip to Colonial Campsite for Noah's birthday. We spend 4 nights at a beautiful, secluded site and hiked one of the most amazing trails I've ever been on (see Noah's website for more details on our trip). We also got outsmarted by a conspiracy of ravens (yes, that's what a bunch of sneaky ravens are called) who efficiently swooped into our site and gobbled up an astonishing amount of packed away food while we were enjoying ciders on the beach. Plus one for the ravens.

But, back to the blueberries. After camping, we stopped at the farm on a whim and in a light drizzle, thinking we'd only pick a few pounds to take back to Seattle. But, the fruit was just too big and juicy and delicious to stop after a few pounds so we ended up picking about 30. Oops. We froze most of that first harvest, eating them with yogurt and in pancakes over the winter. Come July of this year, though, we were running low again, so we made the two-hour trek back to the little farm for more. This year we upped the harvest and brought in 46 lbs of blueberries. Again, we froze most of them, but I've been making scones (recipe to come!), pancakes, and shrubs as well as this granola out of the few blueberries that I dehydrated. It is soooo good.      

//Blueberry Vanilla Granola// makes about 6 cups
The real vanilla bean makes a huge difference here (think freshly ground coffee vs instant), so don't skimp on that, please! I also love the taste of maple because I'm a Vermonter, especially in combination with blueberries and vanilla, but you could try honey instead. To get some clumps, don't stir the granola as it's baking or when it's cooling. 

4 cups rolled oats
1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons whole flaxseed
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped out, discard pod
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup sunflower or safflower oil
1/2 cup dried coconut
1 cup dried blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 325°F. 

2. In a large bowl combine all of the ingredients except the dried blueberries. Stir well until everything is evenly coated.

3. Spread granola evenly onto a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes or until granola is golden brown. It may need more or less time, so check often - it burns fast!

4. Remove granola from oven and sprinkle blueberries on top. Let sit until completely cool, then transfer to an airtight container.