I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I have had this beauty stashed in the kitchen pantry since Christmas. (Thanks, mom-in-law!!) Not being a household of regular pancake eaters, no occasion for maple syrup ever seemed “special” enough or large enough in required quantity to warrant cracking the seal on 32 ounces of sugary liquid gold. And then it was as if the bar for opening our little keg just kept getting higher and higher with each passing month.

This morning, however, I went looking for a granola recipe big on interesting nuts and grains and low on sugars and dried fruit (gummy bear-chewy is not my palate’s preferred texture). It took a little Googling before I found one that suited me (in the end, it was a tongue-in-cheek search for “hippie granola” that actually reeled in what I was after)* and what pushed it well over the edge was 1) the peanut butter addition (it was a familiar technique: I use this trick in salad dressings a lot) and 2) the indication that the addition of maple syrup, should one have access to this resource, would make a heavenly swap for some of the other sweeteners in the recipe. Bonus: we had toasted wheat germ in the fridge and (what’s better than peanut butter?) almond butter on the shelf. So, stir, stir, stir, toast, toast, toast, and…

I was not disappointed. Take that, Bare Naked.

*A medical professional once pointed out to me that I was “a little crunchy, right?” before he suggested some slightly alternative therapy. It took me a minute to catch his granola hippie drift. To be fair, I was in his office getting shots for a three-month stint in Nepal.